Gilberto is the voice of moments. The melancholic moments that remind us of a friend, a lover, a parent, a special place. Gilberto guides us to that land of nostalgia where we, as one moved fan put it, "discover the truth... [more]
Gilberto is the voice of moments. The melancholic moments that remind us of a friend, a lover, a parent, a special place. Gilberto guides us to that land of nostalgia where we, as one moved fan put it, "discover the truth that lies behind our own history": the truth we avoid or forget, then remember -- suddenly, willingly -- because the music moves us. Gilberto's voice is too beautiful, the seduction too irresistible, to resist reminiscing. Enchantingly sweet and angelic, this voice sways slowly to the rhythms of a place where music is a way of life. Joao Gilberto is a way of life.
Brazil's signature samba sound became famous with the help of composer Antonio Carlos-Jobim and the poet Vinicius de Morales. Their ballads -- "Corcovado," "Desafinado," "The Girl from Ipanema" -- were catchy and listenable. But while the music was beautiful, vocal power was missing -- that is, until Jobim and Morales met a young singer from Bahia named Joao Gilberto. Gilberto had a languid, caressing, quiet voice. In fact, silence was the cornerstone of his entire performance; Gilberto whispered the emotion. From this seductive murmur was born bossa nova, God's gift to Brazil and Brazil's gift to the world.
Antonio Carlos-Jobim heard the young Gilberto performing a gig in Rio de Janeiro. His mellow voice, mixed with a slowed-down rhythmic samba beat, was exactly what Jobim needed to modernize his harmonies. He gave Gilberto a song he had written years earlier, "Chega de Saudade;" with the release of that recording in 1959, Gilberto became the face of bossa nova.
Gilberto's fame reached exuberant heights when jazz master Charlie Bird went to Brazil to record some of his work. From there, the legendary saxophonist Stan Getz immortalized Gilberto on "Getz/ Gilberto" (1963), an album that transformed the texture of both Brazilian and jazz music. The sultry voice of Astrud Gilberto (Joao's wife) and the enchanting lilt of Gilberto himself brought "The Girl from Ipanema" back from the dead. The song, which became an instant hit, was transformed by Gilberto's signature softness. He perfectly realized its wistfulness, its longing, and its quiet desire for a girl seen once and lost forever.
Joao Gilberto's poetry is endless and his sadness enchanting. He's been a master and inspiration to many musicians, including Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, and Caetano Veloso. As Maria Bethania, a veteran of the Brazilian stage, once said, "Joao Gilberto simply is music." [show less]