Stan Getz knew they had a hit. The year was 1963, and though Getz had been making huge waves on the West Coast within the Cool Jazz movement and with a new genre, Bossa Nova, he was ready to team up with the cats that created this “new wave” down in Brazil. As he sat in the studio with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, and Joao Gilberto, they knew that Jobim’s tune Garota de Ipanema was otherworldly, but would have a hard time breaking the American radio waves. Joao suggested that his wife, Astrud, sing the first verse in English, for she knew the language the best out of the two, and that the rest of the tune be sung in Portuegese. Once the song was cut, and the dual record between Getz and Gilberto came out later the next year, Bossa Nova was launched into the limelight, solidifying Jobim’s tune, The Girl from Ipanema, as one of the biggest pop songs in world history.
Taking its roots from Samba, Brazil’s most popular genre throughout the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century, and Choro, Bossa Nova first came to the Brazlian-mainstream in 1959 with the release of Orfeu Negro, or Black Orpheus. An international box-office hit, the film utilized both Samba and Bossa Nova to soundtrack the story of Orfeu and Eurydice, and made people across the world hip to Brazil’s “new wave.”
As aforementioned, with the release of 1964’s Getz/Gilberto, Bossa Nova began to become mainstay within American jazz musicians’ arsenals, however, this is where Bossa Nova began to become problematic in America, and across the world. Though Jobim admitted to having been heavily influenced by American jazz and theatre music, Bossa Nova became to be viewed by many as a white-washing of Samba music, and something appropriated by upper-middle class Americans throughout the sixties. Regardless, the integrity of the Brazilian innovators within the genre holds true, and throughout the 60s and 70s, the genre exploded and is still highly influential to this day.
On our newest GNRE playlist, we celebrate some of the greatest Bossa Nova recordings of the 20th century.