A Guaraldi Story

The recent reissue of music by Vince Guaraldi and subsequent Rifftides and radio ramblings led the veteran print and broadcast journalist Jack Berry to grace a new web site with an account of a piquant Guaraldi adventure. It has to do with Vince’s ability to make lemonade.

When he climbed up on the bench and began his first tune, however, Guaraldi akimbo.jpgsomething ominous occurred. There was an entirely dead note on the piano. Guaraldi halted the song and looked into the middle distance with an expression of deep bemusement.
“Here’s trouble,” I predicted to Ms. Hoffman.
Guaraldi tapped the dead note, tentatively at first, then with increasing violence. THUNK, THUNK, THUNK. Dropping his head, he thought for a moment, then began gently tapping the conspicuously expired key.

To read all of Berry’s piece, go to Oregon Music News. It is good to know that he will be contributing often to that site.
Jack Berry.jpg

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  1. Richard Christopher says

    I just read your liner notes for the Vince G. double CD, “The Definitive…”. I have many fine memories of watching the VG trio play in LA and the City. Also saw Bola Sete at the El Matador. Did VG record that unknown sidemen tune there? Did you ever get to MEMORY LANE, MARTY’S ON THE HILL, or other obscure clubs in LA? The dates at Shelly’s Manne Hole, Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse and other popular venues are obvious, including dates with Woody Herman or Cal Tjader. It is the tiny clubs, the odd venues, that I remember hearing VG at, including multiple sets with Bola Sete. Thanks for the memories. I still own the original Fantasy LP by VG—pressed on RED vinyl!—and still play it and other VG sides on one of my five turntables.
    Memories: like Cannonball, Nat and Elvin Jones vamping when a guy in a runningsuit hopped onstage at the Manne Hole and started playing an invisible trumpet—Bill Cosby! How about the “Orange Coast Jazz Festival” where six vibes players were on stage at one matinee—can you name them? I sat with George Shearing when he met one of the players in beads and fringe afterwards…How about the John Coltrane Memorial Jazz Festival along the tracks in Watts? Or Diz and Moody romping thru “Salt Peanuts” two feet away from me at Memory Lane…Gabor Szabo at Marty’s…Gerald Wilson’s big band jammed into the Lighthouse…Don Ellis at Bonesville sitting next to Steve McQueen…Brubeck introducing Herb Alpert at the Shrine?…Sun Ra at some LA high school with nine sax players and artwork walking the aisles…the list goes on.