410

Bossa Nova

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Vinicius Cantuaria
Vinicius
Transparent Music, 2001

Luscious framework of traditional bossa nova—steamy rhythms, bittersweet melodies.
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Wave
A&M Records, 1967

Stunningly seductive record, possibly Jobim's best. Includes instant standards "Wave" and "Triste."
Stan Getz
Getz/Gilberto
Verve, 1963

When bossa nova seemed in danger of being written off as a fad, this classic album came out and made it a permanent part of music.
Antonio Carlos Jobim
The Composer Plays
Verve, 1963

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.
Joao Gilberto
Joao Voz E Violao
Verve, 2003

With just his voice and his guitar, Gilberto fills the heart and head with enough musical force to equal a symphony orchestra.
Stan Getz
Jazz Samba
Verve, 1962

This classic session launched the bossa nova craze in the early '60s and helped introduce Antonio Carlos Jobim's music to the United States.
Vince Guaraldi
Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus
Fantasy Jazz, 1962

Cover versions of tunes from the Antonio Carlos Jobim/Luiz Bonfa score for the film Black Orpheus.
Sergio Mendes
Swinger from Rio/Beat of Brazil
Collectables, 1999

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 worthy—still.
Joe Henderson
Double Rainbow
Verve, 1995

Henderson avoids Jobim's best-known songs in favor of some of his more obscure (but equally rewarding) melodies.
Toots Thielemans
The Brasil Project, Vol. 2
Private Music, 1993

Guitarist, harmonica player, and whistler Toots Thielemans' successful followup to the critically acclaimed Brasil Project.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Evan Parker Building a Jazz Library Evan Parker
by John Eyles
Published: September 11, 2017
Read Forget Old Europe: 15 European Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About Building a Jazz Library Forget Old Europe: 15 European Jazz Musicians You Need To...
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: August 16, 2017
Read 15 Italian Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About Building a Jazz Library 15 Italian Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Derek Bailey Building a Jazz Library Derek Bailey
by John Eyles
Published: June 16, 2017
Read Jazz From Around the World: Asia Building a Jazz Library Jazz From Around the World: Asia
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: October 4, 2016
Read Jazz From Around the World: Africa Building a Jazz Library Jazz From Around the World: Africa
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Forget Old Europe: 15 European Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About" Building a Jazz Library Forget Old Europe: 15 European Jazz Musicians You Need To...
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Evan Parker" Building a Jazz Library Evan Parker
by John Eyles
Published: September 11, 2017
Read "15 Italian Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About" Building a Jazz Library 15 Italian Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Derek Bailey" Building a Jazz Library Derek Bailey
by John Eyles
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Jazz From Around the World: Asia" Building a Jazz Library Jazz From Around the World: Asia
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Ambrose Akinmusire at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Ambrose Akinmusire at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi" DVD/Film Reviews The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi
by Marc Davis
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Jazzkaar 2017" Live Reviews Jazzkaar 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano" Live Reviews Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa Dos Ventos" Multiple Reviews Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Stockholm Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Stockholm Jazz Festival 2016
by John Ephland
Published: November 14, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.