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The Bossa Nova Story
- Overview

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Overview
Where It All Began
LP's Change The Landscape
Vocal Groups and João Gilberto
Next *  Life At The Copacabana
   

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The Bossa Nova Story
- Part 02 - LP's Change The Landscape
If Farnésio Dutra hadn't have changed his name to Dick Farney he probably wouldn't have reached the dizzy heights he did achieve in 1946 with the smash 'Copacabana'.
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With just one song Dick Farney captured the hearts of the young postwar Brazilians who had fallen in love with American Swing Bands and Vocalists and they were also in love with the young Frank Sinatra who started his career with The Harry James Orchestra and moved on to sing with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1940.

Farney soon headed to the USA to ply his trade and landed a 52 week contract with NBC, and after years of noteriety in North America he returned to his native Brazil in 1948 to a rapturous welcome, whereby his popularity exploded even further.

In 1943 the Capitol Records label was established in Los Angeles with guitarist Les Paul as the star name heading the rooster of (what would be in the future) household names like Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, The King Cole Trio, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Dinah Shore and others. With their all conquering formula in the USA Capitol decided that Brazil was rife for explotation and eventually established a working relationship with a local label called Sinter.

Meanwhile Joca, Didi and Theresa Queiroz's Sinatra-Farney Fan Club had become well established now with gatherings every Saturday afternoon and evenings with fans listening to recordings played through a system which was limited to playing 78's, although they were obsessed with Frank Sinatra and Dick Farney people fell to their knees when they heard the recordings of Stan Kenton and in paricular the classic 'Artistry In Rhythm' track.

78 Records made from Shellac Resin were however brittle and limited, but few had any other method of playing recordings in Brazil. However in 1948 things were to be revolutionized by Columbia who created the 33 RPM Long Play Record with great optimism that these would be the future of music recordings, unlike the 78's which had a time limit per side of circa 3 to 5 minutes. LPs could play 20 plus minutes per side and standard jazz recordings had 3 or 4 tracks per side on these new 100 gm vinyl additions. Columbia stated that they had 'Unbreakable Microgrooves'!

Dick Farney was a regular visitor to the Fan Club established for Frank Sinatra and himself and would turn up Tijuca in his Cadillac convertible, purchased it was claimed from another icon from Brazil who starred in the USA, Carmen Miranda. He then brought it back to Brazil from the USA.

Dick would play the piano in the club after having long conversations with the fans about household names in the USA i.e. Nat King Cole, Mel Tormé, Anita O'Day and of course Frank Sinatra himself, all of whom he would call by their first names. Dick's visits usually culminated in him playing the piano and singing in situe with a live performance for the visitors to this bespoke club.

Dick invited many of the USA stars to his house when they visited Brazil and it was Frankie Laine, who often broke in to song during a conversation to accentuate his point, who delighted fans when he recorded Não Tem Solução (There's No Solution) in Portugese some time afterwards (penned by Dori Caymmi and Carlinhos Guinle) as it had actually been Dick Farney who had introduced him to the song during one of his house visits.

By the summer of 1950 the Sinatra-Farney Fan Club had 50 paying members and non members had to have an invite by a member to gain entrance. Members were nominated to the Fan Club on one condition 'they had to have a some sort of a unique skillset' to entertain the other members, i.e. singing, or lip syncing to famous recordings, some entertained with comedy sketches or performed dance routines. However the highlights were always the visits of Dick Farney himself who caused traffic jam chaos in the Rua Dr. Moura Brito road in Tijuca on such occassions in his unmistakable Cadillac.

Many of the stars of the club at that time such as João Donato, Johnny Alf, Paula Moura, Raul Mascarenhas, Doris Monteiro and Nora Hey began to turn professional and moved on to star at venues themselves all over the area. Dick Farney got married and moved to Urca which unfortunately restricted his time schedule for visits to his Fan Club.

This coincided with Frank Sinatra marrying Ava Gardner in 1950 and he actually entered his unfortunate, and probably a little unfair 'Celebrity Hell' period, whereby his new recordings flopped, his acting career suffered as he endeared the goings on of Gardner and Mario Cabre in the press. They said :- 'who could be a fan of a singer who was being cheated upon openly by his wife and a Spanish bullfighter?'

These events were to herald the demise of the Sinatra-Farney Fan Club per se, but it did continue in the coming years, albeit moreso in spirit and the camaraderie of the old fans. Jams continued in Farney's new house and at the luxury apartment of Jorginho Guinle in Flamengo which was hailed as an event of the old Sinatra-Farney Fan Club with many former members attending.

Many of the musicians who attended in 1954 like Luizinho Eça, Durval Ferreira, Mauricio Einhorn, and a 13 year old protegé named Bebeto would go on to enjoy the new Brazilian sensation in the future which would be 'Bossa Nova'.

Listen to Music Samples
( Licensing via LIVE365 )
* Stan Kenton - Artistry In Rhythm (1946)
* Mel Tormé - I Fall In Love Too Easily (1945)
* Dori Caymmi - Gabriela's Song (1988)

Next Time in Part 03
- Vocal Groups and João Gilberto

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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