Acoustic Sounds

Vince Guaraldi Trio

Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus



Label: Craft/Fantasy

Produced By: Vince Guaraldi

Mastered By: Bernie Grundman

Lacquers Cut By: Bernie Grundman

By: Michael Fremer

February 7th, 2023





"Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus" Gets the Craft "Small Batch" One-Step Treatment

Vince Guaraldi's other classic album

The Brazilian Bossa Nova flower had not yet bloomed in America when in 1959 the movie "Black Orpheus" became the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize Winner. The movie is a re-telling of the Orpheus legend set in Rio de Janeiro with the Mardis Gras as backdrop.

The music was by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa, one of whom, Jobim, would become a household name if not in 1963 when Stan Getz released Jazz Samba, then a year later when Getz/Gilberto exploded well beyond jazz into the adult pop music world even as The Beatles mesmerized the kids.

The story of how Guaraldi came to record a jazz impressions version of the soundtrack—or to be more specific, three songs from the film, one of which "Manha De Carnaval" went on to become a standard both as an instrumental and with lyrics added as "A Day In the Life of a Fool" is almost more interesting than the music. The song was almost tossed from the film but Luis Bonfá convinced director Marcel Camus to include it. In the film it's sung by Orfeu, played by Breno Mello, but overdubbed by a singer named Augosthino Dos Santos, whose grandson is, well you know.

Guaraldi's tune "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" had nothing to do with the movie and was added along with a few other tunes needed to round out the album, including Henry Mancini's "Moon River" and the oft-covered "Since I Fell For You" popularized by Lennie Welch and of course by my friend the great Eddie Brigati on The Young Rascals' Collections album.

The album was released in 1962 with the first single being "Samba de Opheus". "Cast Your Fate to The Wind" was the "B" side. How the album came to be made and released and how the "B" side became a phenomenon, even winning a Grammy for Best Original Jazz Composition in 1963—the whole fascinating story— is told in the insert written by Derek Bang, author of "Vince Guaraldi at the Piano".

Honestly, the story is more fascinating than the music, which is pleasant enough and ranges from cocktail/supper club covers to "Cast Your Fate to the Wind", which remains a hypnotic, dreamy tune. I remember as a kid buying the album when it was renamed Cast Your Fate to the Wind and thinking only the title tune was worth the purchase, though the typo on the label "Cast Your Faith To the Wind" was worth a few chuckles, especially since following my Bar Mitzvah I'd done just that.

Craft has given the album the full "Small Batch" treatment that by now you are all familiar with. It's a snazzy package, well executed. Bernie Grundman cut from the original master tapes, with "One-Step" plating and pressing at RTI on NeoTech VR900 semi-transparent vinyl.

The sound of the One-Step stomps all over my A1 pressing, which was pressed at RCA's Rockaway NJ pressing plant. It's a very fine recording with good piano, bass and drum sound presented in a nice space. Guaraldi paid for the recording himself and as it turned out he and Fantasy got their money's worth.

When I think of the rich Concord assets, I can't figure out why the folks at Craft chose this of all titles in the vaults, to release as a costly "One Step". I could see it as a regular AAA reissue but I wonder how many people will want to spend $109 for it. The Craft folks must know something I don't. Either that or this will indeed sell in a "small batch".

Music Specifications

Pressing Plant: RTI


Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: original master tapes

Presentation: Single LP


  • 2023-02-08 01:49:12 AM

    Malachi Lui wrote:

    not speaking specifically about the craft small batch series, but overall i've noticed that labels are mining the audiophile jazz market A LOT these days. there are quite a few collectors who seem to religiously buy every tone poet, BN classics, verve/acoustic sounds, craft small batch or standard AAA, etc release, no matter what it is. those people must have loads of shelf space (and i'm slightly jealous of that)! even though it's nice to see new AAA jazz reissues every week, i can't help but feel like the bubble's gonna burst soon.

    that said, the craft small batch releases are quite nice. deluxe, but not unnecessarily bulky. the actual record inside the package speaks for itself. i'd buy a craft one-step over a mofi one-step any day of the week (not even accounting for the mofi digital thing).

  • 2023-02-08 04:02:00 AM

    Fred Morris wrote:

    Nice review and Malachi’s comments are spot on. Quite happy with my OJC of this one. I wish the selection criteria for premium reissues included not just excellence of the performance and recording, but also relative obscurity and/or scarcity of good, reasonably priced copies on the secondary market. TP and AP releases sometimes meet these criteria but far from always.

  • 2023-02-08 09:28:43 AM

    James Ellis wrote:

    Analogue Productions did a 2x45rpm version of this in their Fantasy 100 series. I have that and can't imagine anything sounding better.

    • 2023-02-17 02:19:50 AM

      AnalogJ wrote:

      I have the Charlie Brown Christmas of that series and it IS really impressive.

      As far as THIS album goes, I've always really liked the first side as well as "Cast Your Fate To The Wind". Craft is putting out AAA 33 of this along with 2 LPs, digitally mastered and cut by Kevin Gray, all in one set. It's interesting that there are two AAA 33s of this coming out simultaneously.

      I have a 1965 copy, when Fantasy first changed out the title. The sound is very good. I could be happy with it, but I'm going to check out the Craft 3 LP release.

  • 2023-02-08 05:04:30 PM

    Anthony J Russo wrote:

    Mike it is WFDU 89.1 February fundraiser . Any donation will help . Any who lives in the NJ/NY area give them a listen . Mike you still doing your show on their HD -3 Ch ????

  • 2023-02-08 07:07:40 PM

    CHRIS ASSELLS wrote:

    Music is of course subjective and the truth is that many of us have deep love for this LP. Vince Guaraldi's unique, quirky, charismatic piano playing was the draw and the truly unforgettable "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" was an added bonus. To each their own but this is much more than "cocktail/supper club covers". Respectfully, calling it that seems elitist and Grinch-like. There is room in the piano world for everything from Art to Oscar to McCoy to Vince to whoever. Ralph Gleason's liner notes calling Vince's music "moving, beautiful and a rewarding experience" is spot on for many of us.

    I've enjoyed this LP for over half a century and I'm looking forward to the three LP version. Not a fan of paying over a hundred dollars for a single LP of any kind, that's the Grinch in me.

  • 2023-02-08 07:34:23 PM

    Ronan O’Gorman wrote:

    Malachi, I believe you are correct about the high end audiophile pressings that are on the market. The Blue Note Tone Poets and Classic Vinyl reissues are well priced. I do not like the gatefold covers on the Tone Poets, but the sound has been really great. I have replaced many of my BN United Artists era "simulated stereo" Lps and it has been a really great opportunity to upgrade. I have quite a few BN titles on Classic Records and I prefer them over any pressings. As for the Craft small patch, I am not interested in the titles on offer. I agree with another reader that the OJC recordings have very good sound. Lastly, the amount of "audiophile product" on the market its overwhelming. Thanks to the Tracking Angle team for reviews and the product announcements.

  • 2023-02-09 06:30:43 PM

    Sloan Lamb wrote:

    Sorry to be thick but which is right and which wrong, “fate” or “faith”? I could go with either…

  • 2023-02-17 04:10:42 AM

    Felipe wrote:

    Great review, I highly recommend the original music released before Guaraldi. Detail: there’s no “Mardi Gras” in Brazil

  • 2023-03-01 10:47:19 PM

    elmore244 wrote:

    I purchased the 3 LP deluxe set for $65 or so. I was happy with the pressing. While the sound did not blow me away, it was nice and quiet with decent detail. I couldn't see spending $100+ for the one-step as this wasn't an LP that was on my 'must have' list. Does anyone know if the 3 LP deluxe is from the same plates or did they do a digital copy for it?

    • 2023-03-02 05:52:20 AM

      Malachi Lui wrote:

      i'm pretty sure the 3LP set was cut from plangent-processed hi-res digital files.