Listen to This: Jazz Classics for Kids

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 1.08.02 PMWith summer right around the corner, most of us will have our kids hanging around the house a lot more than during the school year. The additional time at home can leave you subjected to your children’s favorite songs being played in the house in repeat mode until your patience is hanging on by a single quickly threading tendril. The antidote? Introduce your kids to some music that you can enjoy as well. Our picks for this month are some jazz classics for kids.


guaraldiVINCE GUARALDI, The Definitive Vince Guaraldi

Some kids are drawn to the classics. My collaborator’s son is one of those kids. He is drawn to the poignant world of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts characters, and loves the iconic soundtrack to the Charlie Brown films. Here is a double album featuring music from the original Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi. The first tracks are compilation of Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts compositions and the second half of the album is a collection of works recorded outside of the Peanuts World. Use the Peanuts tracks as the introduction into the larger catalog of Vince Guaraldi’s recordings.

Vince Guaraldi,  Autumn Leaves


Vince Guaraldi,  Blues for Peanuts



Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 1.13.47 PMGEORGE WINSTON, Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi

The second Peanuts–centric jazz album is recorded by Grammy–winning artist George Winston. Winston’s greatest musical influence was original Peanuts music composer Vince Guaraldi and on this album, he revisits the musical themes Guaraldi composed for the Peanuts characters. George Winston’s style is less minimal than Guaraldi’s but it still aptly captures the warmth that is embodied in the music of Vince Guaraldi and honors our memories of watching those classic Charlie Brown TV specials. Take a listen.

George Winston, Linus And Lucy


George Winston, The Great Pumpkin Waltz



Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 1.08.02 PMVARIOUS ARTISTS, Jazz for Kids: Sing, Clap, Wiggle, and Shake

Many years ago I was waiting in this dimly lit, red velvet carpeted “lobby” for a show at Epcott Center. There was jazzy background music playing for which all the kids were going bananas (in a good way)! The kids were doing these self-choreographed crazy dances that seemed to physically visualize the music. I thought to myself, “What a perfect way to respond to hearing this music.” They had no choice, the music compelled them to move. This memory is what immediately came to mind when I first heard “Jazz for Kids: Sing, Clap, Wiggle, and Shake.” With songs by Ella Fitzgerald (singing an incredible version of Old MacDonald), Louis Jordan, Blossom Dearie, and Louis Armstrong, how can you or your kids resist doing your own interpretive crazy dance? Take a listen and decide for yourselves.


Ella Fitzgerald, Old MacDonald

Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five, Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens

Louis Prima, Yes, We Have No Bananas


ee544801fe523aad28a6b1f491c0e1a4-w204@1xAnd for those of you who like to re-enforce the significance of these recording artists to your children, there is a great children’s book about Ella Fitzgerald called ELLA FITZGERALD: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa by Andrea Davis Pinkey and Brian Pinkey, who was also the book’s illustrator. Ages 5-9.


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