Master Composers: Joao Gilberto, Father of Bossa Nova Truly Made An Indelible Mark on Jazz History


Image courtesy of


Image courtesy of

At age 82, Joao Gilberto made quite an impact on jazz in general, and the bossa mova moment in particular.

The two albums that I highlighted for this week are basic compilations from 1992 by Saludos Records/Sarabandas and Not Now Music from the United Kingdom released in 2012.

Most of the guitar riffs last right around or just under two minutes in length.  He had produced five albums before “Chega de Saudade” (or “Reaches of Longing”).  Other songs created with the help of fellow pioneer Antonio Carlos Jobim include the likes of “Corcovado”, “O Amor Em Paz”, and the very familiar rhythms from “Ho-Ba-La-La” (you can find out more by listening to the soundtrack from the 1959 movie, Black Orpheus).  Other songs definitely worth a listen are “O Nosso Amor”, “A Felicidade” and “Marina de Carvinal”.

Even after spending seven years in the United States teaming up with American jazz pioneer Stan Getz (those two duet albums will be paired in a blog later on in the year) created a new following with sold-out crowds everywhere they performed.  The bossa movement picked up lots of steam during the early 1960’s when most Americans were getting tired of listening to Frank Sinatra and decided that Elvis Presley and The Beatles were the main acts to get hooked on to.

With a total of 58 awesome tracks on these two compilation albums, you cannot go wrong by purchasing either one of them or both.  Just listen to how he pronounced the syllable “Oh”.  Very distinct, yet that private and distinctive voice definitely deserved a special place high up adorning the sandy beaches and constant miles/kilometers of shorelines up and down Copacabana Beach.  Joao did in fact move back to Brazil in 1980.

Although he has been performing very rarely in recent years, he still managed to perform in parts of the first decade of the 2000’s in Japan.  The entire Gilberto Family definitely deserves a very special place along with the likes of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Glenn Miller as true jazz pioneers.

Continuing with the summertime theme with the persistent hot and sultry weather conditions persisting in most of the United States for most of this week, I thought about one specific artist and her two recent albums “New Morning” and “Dreaming” that should be instant hits for relaxing on the beach, or in my case–keeping cool with as much air conditioning as possible.

That name is Sabrina Malheiros, and I am excited to profile a few of her really cool songs next week.  And if she is kind enough to (hopefully) email me, I hope to provide an online interview profiling her career and other special things that very few people in and around Brazil might not know about this true rising star in the making.

With another baseball All-Star Game another memory, I already reserved a special place for Sabrina on my All-Star team of great female Brazilian jazz singers today.

Bottom line–this promises to be a really fun blog to prepare, and I bet you cannot wait to read what I have to say.  Hope to see you then.  In the meantime, please keep cool.

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