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  • Von Babasin wrote on June 05, 2009 report

    The earliest forms of Bossa Nova came about when Hollywood bassist, Harry Babasin, and Brazilian guitarist, Laurindo Almeida, met on the set of the movie, A Song Is Born, in 1947. They immediately hit it off and started fusing Brazilian folk songs and modern jazz. They eventually formed the Laurindo Almeida Quartet, adding Bud Shank on alto sax and Roy Harte on drums. They played around town and recorded two 10" LPs for Richard Bok of Pacific Jazz in 1953. Many jazz historians consider this the true birth of Bossa Nova and that it was the "brainchild of bassist Harry Babasin", quoted from 'The True Story of the Bossa Nova', Downbeat Magazine, 1962, by John Tynan.

  • David Manson wrote on June 11, 2009 report

    Well... there are numerous mythologies describing how U.S. jazz musicians created Bossa Nova. At least in this story, one of the two is a Brazilian.

    Almir Chediak's wonderful Songbook series (published by Lumiar Editora) gives a convincing look at the evolution of Bossa Nova. Besides the obvious contributions of Joao Gilberto and Tom Jobim, one has to credit the early influences of Custodio Mesquita, Norival Teixeira, Johnnie Alf and others.

    Jazz musicians tend to think of this genre only in terms of notes and rhythms. I don't think that Bossa Nova would have coalesced without the highly poetic lyrics of Vinicius de Moraes. His extraordinary lyrics demanded an urban, artistic treatment. In my opinion, that elevated the genre to a much higher level.

    The idea that Brazilian musicians could not have developed Bossa Nova on their own is absurd. The samba and chorinho had more to do with the development of Bossa Nova than American jazz.

    There - I've said it.

    David Manson

  • Dave wrote on June 28, 2009 report

    I agree with you David and I also have come across this blatant misunderstanding.

    Bossa Nova has virtually nothing to do with jazz. Jazz did influence Jobim in his repertoire but as Jobim stated many times: " was Joao that introduced me to his lovely way of playing ballads, purposley out of tune and borrowing mostly from a slowed down samba rhythm..."
    That's where Bossa Nova comes from. It is also primarily the invention of mostly one musician: João Gilberto

    But yeah, I hear that quite a bit, "bossa nova is a form of jazz".... ;<) Right!

    If anything it's a derivative of Samba, played much slower.
    Here's a link that tells that interesting history:


  • Von Babasin wrote on July 08, 2009 report

    Laurindo Almeida was a virtuoso Brazilian guitarist - he was NOT a jazz player. The experiment that took place in the early fifties was a FUSION of traditional Brazilian baiao rhythm and jazz - it was a blending of musical styles that was referred to as a "jazz samba". In Laurindo's own words, "As long as samba is in 2/4 and jazz is a la breve, why not put the two together?"

    I have documents and recordings that verify the true history and you can deny it if you want, but the proof is in the music...

  • Von Babasin wrote on July 08, 2009 report

    Oh yeah - and Laurindo took boxes of their albums back to Brazil in the early fifties and passed them out. "I gave copies to many of my friends," he said, "and it was given close attention."

    Close attention, indeed...

  • Dave wrote on July 09, 2009 report

    Well that's very good that Laurindo Almelda was not a jazz player, sort of....don't ask me why that's not important I don't really know but it seems to be important for your post. Does it really matter if he was a jazz player or not, of course not and that misses the entire point.

    As An analogy....The InkSpots were a popular quartet in the forties and had a song called Rock N Roll yes, they experimented with that rhythm and were a popular singing quartet back than. They recorded albums with this new genre of music. Rock N Roll was not a defined term in the forties, can we agree on that? It never caught on in the forties and early fifties for that matter. What happened? It took an unknown group who had never heard of the Ink Spots, speeded up the tempo a bit and added pronounced electrical guitar riffs.....what happened....Bill Haley and the comets 1955 with Rock around the clock! From then on we have Rock N Roll historians might say. I take it your familiar with Charlie Byrd's Brazilian goodwilll tour via the US State Dept. in 1960-1961. Yes, the Film Black Orpheus had a hit in 1959 Che de Sagude, I'm sure you're familiar with it. It was a hit in Brazil not much elsewhere. Byrd heard Jobim, Gilberto play and it knocked his socks off, his analogy not mine. The next thing Byrd is on a plane back to the US and introduces the music to his friend Stan Getz the rest is history isn't it. No disrespect to Laurindo Almelda his didn't catch on did it and is not exactly what we would call Bossa Nova at that time was it?

  • Von Babasin wrote on July 22, 2009 report

    When the public "catches on" does not define the birth of an artform... period.

    I'm not trying to take anything away from history - I'm just saying the history books are big enough to include all those who influenced the artform. Regardless of when the catch phrase 'bossa nova' was invented, it does not take away the fact that what the Laurindo Almeida Quartet did back in the early fifties, defined as a jazz samba, led to the eventual birth of bossa nova.

  • Dave wrote on July 23, 2009 report

    It doesn't, does it? Tell us, then when does an art form like a music style get birthed, when intellectuals in an ivory tower decide, perhaps?

    We're talking about a music style here that is proportionaly successful by the amount of record sales it has. Do you still want to ignore that? Good luck. Last I heard punk rock has a very limited following how would you rate it's popularity? and by what method.....that's right Cd sales. It's low isn't it?

    You can't taking anything away from history on this one simply because you were not around to influence it at the time were you? So, you want to add a foot note addendum to the historical record? Well, you certainly have that right, right here. But remember what you said and I quote :

    "The earliest forms of Bossa Nova came about when Hollywood bassist, Harry Babasin, and Brazilian guitarist, Laurindo Almeida, met on the set of the movie, A Song Is Born, in 1947."

    When I read that I just thought..... gee, another individual wanting to rewrite history. BTW "a song is born" is a good movie.

    And I guess I'm going to make a blasphemous statement for you:

    Mr.John Tynan of Downbeat magazine was dead wrong.

    But I do understand how he could be wrong I'm just wondering if you understand how you could be wrong.

  • Von Babasin wrote on August 18, 2009 report

    Gee Dave - you've really got a problem here. Just maybe you're wrong.

    Frankly, your opinion is of no consequence to me. There are many jazz historians who agree with me, many in the jazz world have come to me for the real story.

    So, undoubtedly, you will believe what you want to believe and I have reams of documentation and recordings to prove otherwise.

    You're like trying to sell health care reform to a Republican...

    Have a nice life!

  • Simon James wrote on April 08, 2012 report

    You may be interested in this:

    Good luck!

  • david manson wrote on August 14, 2012 report

    I missed the follow up responses by Von Babasin. Perhaps the problem is that there are two Bossa Novas. One is the real thing in Brasil and the other is the packaged U.S. version, familiar to more Americans.

    Laurindo Ameida was a great Brazilian guitarist, but he didn't invent Bossa Nova. On those early recordings he plays guitar like many other Brazilian pre-Bossa Nova MPB and choro guitarists. It's finger-style Brazilian guitar. If you listen to the recordings of Noel Rosa (who died in 1937), you will hear the same approach to guitar... decades before Bossa Nova.

    The rhythm section in those Laurindo Ameida recordings certainly doesn't sound Brazilian. The time is often a mess in those Creed Taylor (and similar) recordings. There is no balanço, the Brazilian swing. The drummers lock into one bossa nova groove on brushes ad nauseum and the bassists lack fluidity. The horn players lay back on the time and swing like they are playing U.S. jazz.

    Sadly - that became what most (and I mean 99.9%) of U.S. musicians think that Bossa Nova sounds like. Good Brazilian drummers cadence phrases and subtly change their patterns throughout the songs. They don't play even sixteenth notes and the same pattern throughout. Brazilian bassists understand the surdo and its primary importance.

    Then there is the concept of song. Bossa Nova was (and is) popular song. Without the voice, you don't have Bossa Nova. Perhaps "instrumental jazz recordings with a flavor of Brazilian music" was an awkward title for this music. You can't even call it "samba jazz" because most of it had rhythm sections with little understanding of bateria and samba in general.

    It made Stan Getz rich (not Astrud Gilberto) and boosted the careers of those Brazilian musicians who came to the U.S. When I hear the reference to U.S "jazz critics" validating this expropriation of Brazilian culture, it reminds me that U.S. Exceptionalism has deep roots.

    Jazz had about as much influence as Chopin did in the development of Brazilian Bossa Nova. Jobim liked both.

    It's very impressive that Von's father played on these sessions, but they were not Bossa Nova. If you want to hear the real thing, listen to João Gilberto, Tom Jobim, Nara Leão, Carlos Lyra, Elizete Cardoso, Edu Lobo, Nana Caymmi, Marcos Valle and others (even some Elis Regina). The first true Bossa Nova recording was Canção do Amor Demais.

  • blue overture wrote on January 08, 2013 report

    > But ironically...the movement had already
    > begun to fall apart at home.

    Does no one know that the united states, in 1965, precipitated and supplied a military coup that, through torture, murder and intimidation, oppressed Brazil's culture and political freedoms for 20 years?

    Now that's what I would call ironic!