João Gilberto

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Essential Albums

  • Amoroso
  • Getz/Gilberto

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About João Gilberto

Brazilian singer/guitarist João Gilberto was one of the key architects of bossa nova. Born in 1931 in Bahia, Gilberto started as a drummer before teaching himself guitar. He released his first single in 1951. Along with arranger/songwriter Antônio Carlos Jobim and others, Gilberto helped develop the bossa nova style by mixing samba and other Brazilian genres with an American jazz influence, creating a sinuous sound, complex yet sultry. His 1958 single “Chega de Saudade,” written by Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, was really the beginning of the genre’s explosion, with Gilberto’s supple acoustic rhythms and subtle, seductive croon fitting Jobim’s sophisticated music perfectly. His 1964 album with American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, Getz/Gilberto, became a Grammy-winning phenomenon thanks to Jobim and de Moraes’ “The Girl from Ipanema,” featuring a guest vocal by João’s wife, Astrud Gilberto. Its success made bossa nova a global sensation, and João became a worldwide legend, working his magic all the way into the 21st century, dying in 2019 and leaving an enormous legacy.

Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil
June 10, 1931

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