Friday, April 20 2012, by System Admin
Author, 'The Brazilian Sound'; Novelist, 'The Big God Network'; and Journalist.
For Huffington Post 04/17/2012
Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's album Jazz Samba, which launched the bossa nova craze in the United States, celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. It was a phenomenal success after its release in April 1962 and has achieved an enduring popularity. Jazz Samba was a musical milestone and, alas, an example of musical injustice: the vital contributions of drummer Buddy Deppenschmidt and bassist Keter Betts, both part of Byrd's trio at the time, have long been downplayed. The album wouldn't have sounded the same without them, and perhaps would never have been made.
Jazz Samba's first track, "Desafinado," is a beautiful composition by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonça; it opens with a compelling bass line by Betts, adds understated, intriguing percussion from Deppenschmidt and Bill Reichenbach, and then takes off with Getz's inspired, sublime sax playing. "Desafinado" reached no. 15 on the Billboard Top Twenty chart for pop singles, stayed on the charts for sixteen weeks, and won a "best solo jazz performance" Grammy for Getz. The album eventually made it to the no. 1 position on the Billboard pop chart, the only jazz instrumental album to have ever achieved that feat. Jazz Samba stayed on the charts for seventy weeks and sold half a million copies within eighteen months. It was more jazz than bossa, but the new sound struck a nerve.
"I knew it was something that would have a lot of public appeal. I didn't know it would inspire bossa nova neckties," Byrd recalled in my book The Brazilian Sound. Bossa conquered the United States with its fresh sophistication, bridging popular music and "art" music. After the huge success of Jazz Samba, jazz and popular musicians were eager to explore and/or exploit the new sound. Cannonball Adderley, Quincy Jones, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Mann, Ella Fitzgerald, Herb Alpert, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, and Miles Davis were among the many who recorded bossa nova songs or bossa-inspired albums in the early 1960s. Elvis Presley even sang "Bossa Nova Baby" and Eydie Gormé released the hit song "Blame it on the Bossa Nova."
Bossa nova was a new type of samba that emerged in Brazil in the late 1950s. Guitarist João Gilberto took the genre's rhythmic complexity and pared it down to the bare essentials, transforming it into a different kind of beat, an infectious rhythm on the guitar. His singing, meanwhile, was soft, smooth, and precise with no vibrato. Both voice and guitar were simultaneously melodic and highly rhythmic, as he syncopated sung notes against guitar motifs. Meanwhile, bossa's chords were complex, with influences of jazz and classical music; the genre's greatest composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, added his own harmonic originality.
The first bossa album in the U.S. was João Gilberto's LP O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor, released by Capitol Records in 1961 as Brazil's Brilliant João Gilberto. It laid an egg. American audiences weren't yet ready for unadulterated bossa nova, sung in a whispery voice by Gilberto in Portuguese. However, the Charlie Byrd Trio was touring Brazil that year, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, and they reacted quite differently when they heard Gilberto's albums. Byrd, drummer Buddy Deppenschmidt and bassist Keter Betts were enraptured by the new style. While in Brazil, Deppenschmidt and Betts bought Gilberto's first two discs and spent many hours trying to learn the new style. When they returned to the U.S., they continued practicing, and eventually started performing bossa nova songs with Byrd at the Showboat Lounge in Washington, D.C.
According to Deppenschmidt, he was the first to suggest that the trio record a bossa nova album and he and Betts spent months trying to convince Byrd to do it. According to Elana Byrd (Charlie Byrd's sister-in-law), it was the idea of Charlie's wife Ginny. Byrd eventually talked to Stan Getz about doing a joint album of bossa songs and played him a Gilberto record. Getz liked the music and the concept. He went to A&R executive Creed Taylor at Verve, who gave it a green light.
Byrd and Getz were the first Americans to release an album of bossa nova songs. Byrd picked the songs, provided the musicians, did the arrangements, and set up the recording session. Getz flew down from New York to Washington, D.C. for the day with Verve's Taylor, who produced the album. Jazz Samba was recorded in about two hours on February 13, 1962 at the All Souls Unitarian church in D.C., with Buddy, Keter, drummer Bill Reichenbach, and guitarist/bassist Joe (Gene) Byrd.
In a 1963 Downbeat article, Byrd recalled, "Buddy Deppenschmidt deserves an awful lot of credit for his part in the album; he spent so much time working on getting the exact rhythmic thing down." Yet despite the huge success of Jazz Samba, Deppenschmidt received all of $150 for his playing on it (he left Byrd's band later in 1962). While Byrd took Verve's parent company MGM to court in 1964 for a fairer share of the album's royalties, Deppenschmidt waited much longer, until 2001, to sue Verve and its then parent, the Universal Music Group; according to the drummer, he reached a settlement with them around 2004. His and Betts' vital contributions to the conception and realization of the album were largely ignored until June 2004, when JazzTimes published David Adler's article "Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd: Give the Drummer Some."
Interestingly, Jazz Samba is not actually bossa nova, as Byrd and Deppenschmidt have both acknowledged. It's "jazz bossa" with a group of jazz musicians interpreting bossa nova. And it works, especially because of the superb rendition of "Desafinado." Jazz Samba still feels innovative and is charged with the excitement of artists discovering a new world. Jazz Samba ultimately helped establish bossa nova as a global genre, which has been a gift for music lovers everywhere. Its songs (especially Jobim's) are part of both the jazz and pop canons now. And bossa nova is still one of the most artful, uplifting and seductive musical styles in the world.
Thursday, March 8 2012, by System Admin
Original article in German. English translation and edit by dothebossanova.info.
The most played pop song after "Yesterday"
Wednesday, March 7 2012, by System Admin
Anke Myrrhe 28.02.2012 for ZEIT.DE
Original article in German. English translation by dothebossanova.info.
Bossa Nova was like a revolution similar to the rock and roll.
Monday, March 5 2012, by System Admin
Original article in German. English translation by dothebossanova.info.
Sunday, February 12 2012, by System Admin
A great guide to Rio de Janeiro by GRAEME GREEN for the independent.co.uk.
SUNDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2012
Sunday, January 1 2012, by System Admin
IT ALL started out so innocently, as summers and holidays can. The heavy expectation of freedom and relief can hide, or at least disguise, more basic realities. And so it was that no one could ever foretell the hell that would break loose upon the lovely, simple song that once spoke so clearly of youth and dreams and innocence.
Friday, November 11 2011, by System Admin
Friday, October 21 2011, by System Admin
Written by REBECCA SWANEY for GROOVEMINE.COM
Artists associated with bossa nova: Gal Costa, Astrud Gilberto, Nara Leão, Koop, Nouvelle Vague, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Stan Getz, Vinicius de Moraes
What I knew about bossa nova prior to researching this article could fit on the back of a matchbook, and I would have had left over space: It’s Brazilian. It’s kind of jazzy. It’s “The Girl from Ipanema.” Hell, I didn’t even need an entire matchbook for that.
I opted for bossa nova because it is the unfamiliar, and I believe it’s important to occasionally challenge myself. And, there’s this gorgeous song on a Late Night Tales’ album that I couldn’t get out of my mind: Gal Costa’s “Lost in the Paradise” and it’s bossa nova.
Bossa nova, which translates to “new trend,” is a musical styling birthed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and lived its short vibrant years from 1957 to 1963. An offspring of samba and jazz, bossa nova offers complex harmonies, a second beat emphasis, limited percussion, and a swaying, lazy afternoon feel. Lyrically, bossa nova addresses “women, love, longing, and the best of youth” (Wikipedia).
As with many international art movements, bossa nova was Americanized by everyone, from Gershwin to Pat Boone. The 1959 Brazilian film Black Orpheus, sporting a bossa nova-heavy soundtrack, introduced this genre as an international movement, but it’s Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz’s performance of “The Girl From Ipanema” (originally composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim) that deserves the applause for most recognizable rendition of this classic song. (Mention this song in a group and someone will start to whistle the melodic chorus — I promise!) Bossa Nova continues to be a musical force and influences a variety of artists like: Everything But the Girl, Koop, Quincey Jones, and Nouvelle Vague. Search Beatport to get a glimpse of how much bossa finds it’s way into various strands of electronic music.
For this edition of “Defining Genre,” I’m making it easy on all of us: I’m suggesting all of you go and have a listen to Gal Costa’s 1969 self-titled album. You won’t regret it. It’s a terrific album containing the prerequisite elements of bossa nova with a peppering of psychedelic rock accompanied, at times, with the snarling vocal stylings of Costa. My favorite songs include: “Lost in the Paradise,” “Namorinho de Portão,” “Vou Recomecar” and “Que Pena.”
Check out the extra long 8Tracks experience I’ve prepared. This selection of music represents half a century of bossa nova and an international list of artists; the playlist represents the often playful and flirtatious aspects of the genre, as well as the intimate melancholy that some bossa nova artists portray.