George Winston: Linus & Lucy – The music of Vince Guaraldi

Pianist George Winston, along with guitarist Alex DeGrassi, laid the cornerstone of music that became known as “new-age.” In celebrating the genius of Vince Guaraldi, Winston applies his soothing improvisational style to the composer’s classics and several lesser-known ones. Guaraldi’s joyful caprice and consummate swingability remain evident on hits such as “Linus & Lucy,” “Skating,” “Peppermint Patty” and “You’re in Love, Charlie Brown.” There are times, though, when Winstonia overcomes Vincetonia, and new-agey meandering turns monotonous. Winston is at his creative best on the tranquil tracks of “Monterey,” “Bon Voyage” and “Remembrance.” His rendition of “Cast Your Fate to the Winds” is terrific, but the showcase pieces with well-applied ragtime and stride modes are “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “Treat Street.” The liner notes provide track-by-track details, rather than being filled with the gratuitous thank-yous of many releases. – Patricia Myers