Like many of a certain age, I've always had a gooshy spot in my heart for the Vince Guaraldi Trio's A Charlie Brown Christmas. To me, if Christmas had a soundtrack, this would be it.
This piece on American Songwriter provides some of the backstory on how this the track "Linus & Lucy," and the rest of this album, came about.
Nobody had ever used a soundtrack of hip piano jazz for an animated feature before this. Composers such as the great Carl Stalling did compose tremendously complex and brilliant music for cartoons, but his scores for Warner Brothers' cartoons were orchestral scores, and all classically oriented. This was different. The main melody here is one of infectious and genuine joy. It's hard not to feel good anytime you hear it. He composed its sweetly exultant theme, and performed it with spirited soul. Its tone is happy, borne not out of laborious hours of serious composition, but from the luminous liberation of jazz itself, of great musicians in the moment, jamming on a central theme. It was the perfect match for this world of childhood in which no adults were ever fully seen, or heard.
Image: Album cover art