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  1. #1

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    João Gilberto, one of the principal architects of the Brazilian musical style bossa nova, has died at his home in Rio de Janeiro, according to a Facebook post by his son. João Marcelo Gilberto wrote that his father, who was 88 years old, died following an undisclosed illness.

    João Gilberto is credited by some Brazilian music historians as writing the first bossa nova, or new beat, a style that drew on the country's African-influenced samba tradition but was performed without the usual battery of drums and rhythm instruments, and at much lower volumes. Gilberto's intimate and nuanced style of guitar playing and singing, eventually central to the bossa nova sound, were reportedly developed in 1955 when he sequestered himself inside of a bathroom at his sister's house so as not to disturb her family and to take advantage of the acoustics provided by the bathroom tiles.

    "Bim-Bom," often named as the first bossa nova song, came from that period. Soon thereafter, the style began to sweep Rio's cafe's and bars. Gilberto became the center of a vanguard of young Brazilian musicians that included composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. Gilberto's 1958 recording of "Chega de Saudade," a song written by that pair, became an international hit and launched the bossa nova movement. The two-minute-long song also gave its name to Gilberto's debut album, released in 1959.

    In 1962 American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz heard the style and invited Gilberto to record together. The resulting album Getz/Gilberto became one of the biggest selling jazz albums of all time, winning the 1965 Grammy for album of the year. One of the album's songs, another composition by Jobim and de Moraes called "Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema)" featured Gilberto's then-wife Astrud on vocals. It was a worldwide hit and won the Grammy for record of the year, helping to cement bossa nova's soft, lulling beats and intimate vocals across the global musical landscape.

    João Gilberto continued to perform well into the 21st century and has been recognized by every generation since his debut as a Brazilian musical pioneer.
    https://www.npr.org/2019/07/06/739224759/jo-o-gilberto-master-of-bossa-nova-dies-at-88

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  3. #2

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    "The Girl From Ipanea" lilting from the speaker of our gigantic, ancient Philco radio, coming as it did on the cusp of adolescence, really hit me hard. Decades later, the jazz trio I was working with got a lot of mileage out of it, as it was the favorite song of the owner of our regular Saturday night gig. Thank you Joao, RIP.
    Best regards, k

  4. #3

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    Joao Gilberto was one of my earliest and greatest influences as a musician and songwriter. I was born in '58 and both my parents were jazz fans and really into Bossa Nova, so Getz/Gilberto, The Tamba 4, etc. were always playing on the stereo when I was a baby and little kid, and to me, this was just what music sounded like. I've loved Brazilian music my entire life and Joao is always in my heart. I don't feel sad that he's gone at 88, because what he did; what he gave to the world...that part of him is literally immortal and will be with us always. Much gratitude.

  5. #4

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    wow...rip jg..have been listening to joão my entire life!!! his music all around me as a young kid...with stan getz, astrud, his solo stuff and beyond ...voice and guitar!!...was just listening to a recording with him and herbie mann yesterday!!..one of the greats..huge huge influence on modern music!!!

    rip to a true giant



    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 07-07-2019 at 12:14 AM. Reason: cl-

  6. #5

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    Its been reported that for the past decade Joao lived as a recluse suffering from both mental and financial issues. What a pity for a musician who'd touched the hearts of so many. Still today Joao's music lives on for so many!

    There will never be another music like Bossa Nova. In the 60's you had to have been there.

    When I got pretty good I went on the road with a group - We starved - Wes Montgomery

  7. #6

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    Born in the 50s, I grew up on Jobim, Gilberto, etc. I learned to play this style from my mother--both parents played guitar.

    I was deeply influenced by both Gilberto's playing and singing.

    He will be missed.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    Its been reported that for the past decade Joao lived as a recluse suffering from both mental and financial issues. What a pity for a musician who'd touched the hearts of so many. Still today Joao's music lives on for so many!

    There will never be another music like Bossa Nova. In the 60's you had to have been there.

    Joao seemed to be suffering from some type of anxiety disorder, even back in the 60s when he was working with Getz.
    Gary Burton was working in that group, and he told some stories about it in his excellent autobiography.
    Burton said that they were playing Carnegie Hall, and Joao was so afraid of walking in the streets of NYC, they had to find him a hotel, right across the street from Carnegie Hall.
    Then they had to rent him a limousine to drive him across the street to the stage door of Carnegie Hall, and pull up right next to the stage door so he could go from the car inside Carnegie Hall without ever walking in the street.
    He is truly resting in peace now.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    Gary Burton was working in that group, and he told some stories about it in his excellent autobiography.
    Burton said that they were playing Carnegie Hall, and Joao was so afraid of walking in the streets of NYC, they had to find him a hotel, right across the street from Carnegie Hall.
    Then they had to rent him a limousine to drive him across the street to the stage door of Carnegie Hall, and pull up right next to the stage door so he could go from the car inside Carnegie Hall without ever walking in the street.
    yeah..so whats your point?? haha..why there's uber & lyft! hah

    cheers

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    yeah..so whats your point?? haha..why there's uber & lyft! hah

    cheers
    Burton tells a few more stories about Joao. They literally couldn't get him out of his hotel room once. They had to break the door down!
    Burton's got some stories about all the guitarists who played with him, Coryell, Metheny, Sam Brown, Jim Hall, Joe Puma...
    He doesn't let anyone off easy...

  11. #10

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    Sorry to hear of his passing. What a unique musician he was, and a wonderful guitar player.

  12. #11

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    Man... sad to hear. Great player, composer.

  13. #12

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    Getz/Gilberto was part of the essential soundtrack in my dorm room during my senior year of college. It led me to Veloso, Gil, Buarque, Ben, and a couple dozen more Brazilian artists across various genres.

    I have learned a few of João’s arrangements including the original recording of Chega de Saudade. I’ll need to brush that one off in tribute.

    Boas viagen, maestro.
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  14. #13
    NY Times Obit:

    Joao Gilberto, an Architect of Bossa Nova, Is Dead at 88 - The New York Times

    Here is the tune, mentioned in the article, that started it all:


  15. #14

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    Joao with Astrud at Impanema Beach:


    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  16. #15

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    there's a cd called The Legendary Joao Gilberto that contains a couple of his lps on World Pacific, about 38 tunes
    Can't recommend it more highly.
    rip Joao....

  17. #16
    A dedication.



    Lots of good (mostly left-) hand closeups as well...

  18. #17

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    Changed the world in his quiet and gentle way. Irreplaceable. Obrigado, Joao.

  19. #18

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    What a composer and musician! Apparantly simple but memorable melodies, unparalleled sense of harmony, subtle inversions and rythms. Put it all together and you have the magic of João Gilberto. My own personal favourite of his many recordings is Corcovado - heartbreakingly beautiful and a final resolution that will melt the hardest heart.
    Thank you João for all the joy and pleasure you have given me.
    Last edited by Ray175; 07-11-2019 at 03:12 AM.

  20. #19

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    I don't want to be Donny Downer, here, but "Corcovado" was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

    This doesn't detract in any way from the greatness of Gilberto's craft. However, during the past few days many people on the Internet have been attributing lots of Jobim songs to JG. (When Aretha Franklin died, the same thing went on with "Respect," by Otis Redding.)

    Gilberto had perhaps the _perfect_ vocal instrument and sense of rhythm on his guitar for presenting the emerging sound of his country 1959-1965 that was chiefly embodied in the songs of Jobim. He (and his wife Astrud, as it turned out) was the right voice at the right time. Transformational.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    I don't want to be Donny Downer, here, but "Corcovado" was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

    This doesn't detract in any way from the greatness of Gilberto's craft. However, during the past few days many people on the Internet have been attributing lots of Jobim songs to JG. (When Aretha Franklin died, the same thing went on with "Respect," by Otis Redding.)

    Gilberto had perhaps the _perfect_ vocal instrument and sense of rhythm on his guitar for presenting the emerging sound of his country 1959-1965 that was chiefly embodied in the songs of Jobim. He (and his wife Astrud, as it turned out) was the right voice at the right time. Transformational.
    Yeah, people are even claiming Gilberto wrote Ipanema, Chega de Suadade, and all the rest of Jobim's masterworks, just because Joao sang them!
    IMHO, Jobim was the 'Father of the Bossa Nova'.

  22. #21

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    Sgcim,

    Absolutely

  23. #22

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    "Just because Joao sang them" is perhaps a disservice at best. Of course, it's important for people to give credit where credit is due. Jobim wrote many of the classic bossa nova songs, and was a genius composer. Certainly true.

    But if you look at the timelines of Jobim's and Gilberto's beginnings, they became very early partners. Jobim wrote the first acknowledged bossa nova tune, Chega de Saudade, which was first recorded by another artist, Elizete Cardoso, in 1957 (with little notice) before being given its immortal treatment by Gilberto in 1958.

    Jobim was a pianist and, dare I say, only a middling singer. His masterpieces needed an iconic voice, both instrumental and vocal, which Joao Gilberto provided. Bossa nova without guitar? Not happening in my view. The quintessential guitar voice of bossa nova was Joao Gilberto. He was more than a "just because he sang them" contributor.

    The seminal Getz/Gilberto album (1963) and its sequel (1964) were very much collaborations, with Jobim's tunes performed by Gilberto and given a crossover jazz element by Getz, which helped them explode in America and promulgated the bossa nova craze worldwide.

    I'm very thankful for them both, and many more of the lost masters of early Brazilian post-samba music.
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  24. #23

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    Roger,

    Points well taken. FWIW, though, Tom Jobim was also a guitarist. And you are correct, bossa nova without guitar...meh.

    There can be no doubt that the partnership of Jobim and Gilberto was supremely important and influential.

  25. #24

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    We've probably all seen this amazing photo on the beach, so you're right... Tom played guitar too. I don't know if I've ever heard him recorded on guitar, though, at least not knowingly.

    Anyhow, to me, every famous Jobim song has a Gilberto arrangement as its quintessential example. I'm sure I'm being narrow minded, but I think Joao and Tom share "father" status for bossa nova. My two dads?


    RIP João Gilberto-gilberto-jobim-61-copacabana-palace-hq-32-1a-crop1-e2-d14sh22-jpg
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  26. #25

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    On most of his studio albums, Jobim is credited as playing both piano and guitar...as well as singing. This is important on the '63 album "The Composer of Desafinado, Plays," on '65 "The Wonderful World of Jobim," on '67 "Wave," and on '73 "Jobim." These albums introduced great bossa nova songs like "Agua de Beber," "Wave," and "Aguas de Marco."

    Jobim was a confident guitarist. On most of his albums he was the only guitar you hear.

  27. #26

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    I will take a listen to those records GT, obrigado.
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  28. #27

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  29. #28

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    After the news of Joao's passing, I did my small nod to his legacy of bossa nova by playing some Girl From Ipanema and Corcovado chords. Just learning to play this style expanded the chord vocabulary as well as made me appreciate the lilting rhythm of bossas and sambas. Became a fan of his music years ago when someone gave me a copy of the classic Getz/Gilberto and fortified that fandom even more so by taking on this mellow playing style. RIP Joao!!

  30. #29

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    Thanks Joao for the wonderful music. Your legacy lives strong.

  31. #30

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    I learnt the news on Sunday, and was surprised not to read anything in this forum ....

    Bossa nova has always been attracting me, and I spent a few years practicing it after my rock, finger picking, and classical guitar years. I still play bossa nova tune with great pleasure as part of my jazz repertoire.

    All the details about the beginnings of bossa nova can be found in there: Chega de Saudade (1958) and the origins of Bossa Nova | Songbook

    It seems that Laurindo Almeida did the early work much earlier in 1946, then João worked hard to develop his guitar playing style while away from Rio around 1956, and when Jobim heard it for the first time, Bim - Bom composed by Joào as well as ho-ba-la-la, he was very impressed by the guitar playing . That started things.

    Other details in this document about João's life : Joo Gilberto :: The Man Who Invented Bossa Nova


    RIP João
    Perfection is in the Details, but Perfection isn't a Detail (Leonardo da Vinci)

  32. #31

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    The following quote from the above article kinda says it all. Is it too much to say that it was Gilberto's interpretation's, and rhythm's, if only of others songs, which soon gave popularity and rise of bossa nova? Ellington said "It doesn't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing."

    "For two years, Jobim/de Moraes tunes sounded like traditional samba-canção (samba-song, a slower and more lyrical version of samba). Nobody got particularly excited over them. Then a certain young singer and guitarist came out of nowhere to give these songs a new vocal interpretation and a new beat. The year was 1958, and the new beat was soon known throughout the world as bossa nova.

    That singer and guitarist was João Gilberto."


    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 07-11-2019 at 09:39 PM.
    When I got pretty good I went on the road with a group - We starved - Wes Montgomery

  33. #32

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    and leave it to Gilberto for having turned an Italian song into a worldwide jazz standard...

    When I got pretty good I went on the road with a group - We starved - Wes Montgomery

  34. #33

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    2b,

    Your point is a good one. It should be recalled, however, that bossa nova was incubated in an apartment in Rio in which Jobim, Gilberto, Oscar Castro-Neves, Toquinho, and maybe others worked out ideas together on how to deliver the "new thing" on the guitar.

  35. #34

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    Jazz is often tightly associated with "Swing", that style developped in between 1930 & 1940 which became so successful and invaded the world.
    These Brazilian genius made such an impact that now it is very usual to play in the bossa nova style jazz tunes originally created swing, or even play one part swing and the other part bossa

    On a different line, I always liked this video in which Tom Jobim speaks about Bossa Nova, and teaches Gerry Mulligan about it
    Last edited by mhch; 07-12-2019 at 05:09 AM.
    Perfection is in the Details, but Perfection isn't a Detail (Leonardo da Vinci)

  36. #35

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    Thank you for that post, @mhch! What a priceless thing to have immortalized, a conversation between Jobim and Mulligan about how to phrase a melody. It's fantastic to hear Jobim speak at some length in English, and he is quite a facile speaker at that.
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