All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
In 1959, an unassuming guitarist/vocalist named João Gilberto from the Brazilian state of Bahia started a quiet revolution with his recordings "Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)" and "Desafinado (Off Key)" on the Odeon label. They featured arrangements by a young native of Rio de Janeiro, Antonio Carlos Jobim. Gilberto's whisper-toned, Afro-Indian-influenced Portuguese vocals complemented his unique guitar style, which ingeniously reduced and resyncopated the samba's intricate polyrhythms down to the most essential beats. Jobim expanded Gilberto's harmonies with French impressionist chord progressions. He also codified the guitarist's unique rhythmic approach into a catchy combo rhythm similar to the Cuban clave, which left room for improvisation. In "Desafinado" Gilberto sang a line that's translated as ..."it's the bossa nova. It's very natural..." and thus unwittingly gave birth to a new style of music destined to win over the world.
Bossa nova (literally "new thing") became the name of this seductively syncopated sound of love that peaked in popularity in the mid-'60s. Today, the music is enjoying a resurgence of interest not only in classic bossa nova recordings being reissued on CD but also in recent bossa nova recordings, including those by a new generation of Brazilian artists who add hip hop, drum 'n' bass beats and LP samples to the traditional bossa nova sound.
In his first American album, Jobim presents a dozen of his songs, each one destined to become a standard an astounding batting average. Includes "Desafinado," "Corcovado," "The Girl From Ipanema," "Meditation,""One Note Samba," and others.
Some of the best jazz bossa from one of the art's best assimilators and accompanists: a 1966 American set with Phil Woods, Art Farmer, Hubert Laws and Jobim and a 1967 Brazilian set with some of the music's best originators. Shimmering, sensual and worthystill.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.