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The Bossa Nova Story
- Overview

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Overview
Where It All Began
Next *  LP's Change The Landscape

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The Bossa Nova Story
- Part 01 - How It All Began
Astrud Gilberto became a legend of Bossa Nova fronting the song 'The Girl From Ipanema' in 1964, but it was actually the swansong for jazz as THE popular music.
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Yes the song charmed the North American audiences who had been impressed by its forerunners e.g. the soundtrack from 'Black Orpheus' in 1959 and Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's 'Desinfinado' in 1962, this was already a bossa favourite in Brazil and it was Getz, together with Bossa Nova forefathers Tom Jobim and João Gilberto ( the husband of Astrud Gilberto at that time ), who brought this cool new rhythm to the attention of an audience outside of Brazil.

Indeed Bossa Nova, and other Brazilian music caught the attention of many North American artists in the Sixties who recorded their own tributes to Bossa Nova including :- Duke Ellington, Gerry Mulligan, Wes Montgomery, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Mann, Cannonball Adderley, Dave Brubeck to mention only a few.

It was the arrival of The Beatles that really changed the US's listening culture and headed it off in a direction of more Rock and Pop orientated influences and Jazz (as THE Pop Music of the day), and Bossa Nova would fade into the background and listened to by die hards and those, like me, who didn't hear any substance or style in Rock and Pop in the Sixties.

However during the next two decades 'The Girl From Ipanema' became one of the most recorded songs by others, rivaled only by 'Yesterday' by The Beatles.

Bossa Nova emerged in Brazil in the late Fifties and became an instant hit in the nightclubs and bars of the middle class residents of Rio. After many years of civil unrest and economic uncertainty the new elected president Juscelino Kubitschek paved the way for more stability in the country's economy and new optimism of a more prosperous future. Nothing represented this new change quite like Bossa Nova.

Up until now the classic Samba beats were synonymous with what Brazilians thought, and recognized as their national beat and even the tango, polka and habanera styles were popular as other South American cultures and natives came to Rio to seek out a new life. ( There is a similarity to how the origins of Jazz were formed in New Orleans at the end of the Ninteenth Century. See History Of Jazz Part One ).

Two young local Rio natives formed the basis for Bossa Nova in the nightclubs and bars in 1958, namely pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim and guitarist João Gilberto and they released the first Bossa Nova single entitled 'Chega De Saudade', translated to 'No More Blues', which was written by Tom Jobim with lyrics penned by Vinicius de Moraes who would also collaborate with Jobim on many many songs in the future. A feature of this new song and style was Gilberto's vocal and guitar interplay which was something that was pivotal in identifying this new melodic sophistication with a new audience.

Some of the artists who were influenced by Bossa Nova at the time included, Naro Leão, Ronaldo Boscoli, Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal, most of whom went on to enjoy huge success in their native Brazil.

However not everyone in Brazil was a fan of Samba and three young girls called Joca, Didi and Theresa Queiroz hosted parties for neighbours and friends in their home, a transformed basement which was decorated with modern day icons such as Frank Sinatra and Dick Farney, his Brazilian counterpart. They hung framed musical scores of 'Night And Day' and 'Copacabana' at the entrance, significant at the time as this would become the base for a new fan club, the first one in Brazil.

Listen to Music Samples
( Licensing via LIVE365 )
* Dick Farney - Copacabana (1946)
* Frank Sinatra - Night And Day (1957)
* Astrud Gilberto - The Girl From Ipanema (1964)

Next Time in Part 02
- LP's Change The Landscape

Further In Depth Reading about Bossa Nova
If we have awoken your interest with The Bossa Nova Story we recommend the excellent book
Bossa Nova by Ruy Castro ( Acappella - 2003)

Wes George (former Sony Jazz webmaster)
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