Stan Getz and João Gilberto (featuring Antônio Carlos Jobim) -Getz/Gilberto (1964)
Updated: May 9
Stan Getz and João Gilberto (featuring Antônio Carlos Jobim) -Getz/Gilberto
Released March 1964
Recorded March 18-19 (1963)
Although it waned quickly, jazz was still commercially viable in the first half of the 1960s. By 1964, jazz was splintered into many subgenres, including free jazz, hard bop, and cool jazz (mixing classical elements). Some jazz fans found these forms either too aggressive, experimental, or classically oriented. One subgenre to become popular during the decade's first half was Bossa nova, which blended soft and palatable Brazillian music with jazz elements. The style became associated with three key figures: Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Antônio Carlos Jobim. Getz was a famous American tenor jazz saxophonist with a beautiful sultry sound influenced by swing master Lester Young. Before performing, Bossa nova's Getz had worked in the modernistic big bands of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman and small-group jazz sessions with some great masters. By teaming up with acoustic guitarist Charlie Byrd, he helped inspire the Bossa nova movement on the famous recording Jazz Samba (1962 MGM/Verve).
Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto is often called the "father of Bossa nova." His recordings throughout the 1950s helped to blend traditional samba music with jazz. Gilberto's most important collaborator and the most celebrated composer of Bossa nova was pianist and guitarist Antônio Carlos Jobim. Many of his songs included advanced jazz harmonies blended with gorgeous melodies. Jobim is often credited as one of the most impactful composers of the 20th century.
The combination of Getz, Giberto, and Jobim worked tremendously, and the album Getz/Gilberto was well received, particularly for a "jazz" record in 1964, selling over a half million copies (gold). In 1965 The album won several Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Best Jazz Instrumental Album, and Best Engineered Record. The award marked the first time a jazz record won Album of the Year and the first time a non-American Album won the honor. Also included on the album was Astrud Gilberto's wife (at the time), who never sang professionally before, bassist Sebastiãno Neto and Milton Banana on drums and percussion. Getz/Gilberto is one of the most relaxing and brilliantly nuanced records ever made—Awards: Stan Getz-DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame. Antônio Carlos Jobim-Grammy Lifetime Acheivement Award.
(+ means "recommended track" and * means released as a single)
Track-1-"The Girl From Ipanema" was a huge hit and is the most recognizable Bossa nova piece worldwide. Jobim wrote the music as early as 1962. Vinicius de Moraes provided the original Portuguese lyrics, and then later, Norman Gimbel added English words. The recording marked the debut of Astrud Gilberto Jõao's wife (at the time) as a vocalist. The choice to allow her to sing happened in the studio when they decided to record English lyrics. Being the only Brazillian in the room who could speak English well, she was asked to try it. Untrained as a singer, Astrud had an exceptionally soft vulnerability to her voice, giving the recording a purity of innocence that perfectly matched the music and the lyrics. When Astrud and Jõao's marriage broke up after the recording, she had a relationship with Stan Getz (Awkward!). The single reached #5 on the U.S. Billboard Charts, which was surprising given the current musical landscape.
The piece begins with Jõao singing the original Portuguese lyrics against his gentle classical strumming techniques, a stylistic bass line, and some light brushwork on the drums. His voice is soft and gentle. Around 1:22, Astrud is heard for the first time. She handles the lyrics and phrasing perfectly. Jobim is playing some minimalist piano throughout. Getz enters at around 2:36. His playing is breathy, soulful, and measured. At around 3:53, Jobim plays a chorded piano solo in the instrument's high register. Astrud returns around 4:20 to sing the bridge, with Getz filling in behind her. The track's incredibly relaxed feel and vibe exemplify the Bossa nova genre. (*+)
Track 2-" Doralice" is credited to Antonio Almeida and Dorival Caymmi. The track is sung in Portugese by Jõao Gilberto. It's one of only two songs not written by Jobim for the album. Getz is again impressive during his solo, which begins around 1:25.
Track 3- "Para Machucar Meu Coração" was written by Brazilian composer Ary Barroso. The track is another characteristic Bossa sung by João. At this point in the album, any American listener must feel the calm wash of the Brazillian stylings of the musicians. Getz again fits in perfectly on his solo. Great music often takes the listener on a mental journey; this is true of Getz/Gilberto.
Track 4- "Desafinado" is a Jobim vehicle noted for his characteristic use of advanced jazz harmonies, gorgeous melodies, and irregular song form. The song is played slightly more uptempo than the previous tracks and is considered a jazz standard. The word "desafinado" translates to "out of tune." The song was recorded several times before the album. Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's version from the Jazz Samba Album (1962 MGM/Verve) reached #15 on the Billboard charts and was responsible for introducing Bossa nova to a much broader audience. This version is also considered a classic album cut. (+)
Track 1- "Corcovado (Quiet Nights And Quiet Stars)" is the other track recorded, including Astrud. She begins by singing the lyrics in English during a slow vocal introduction with light piano accompaniment by Jobim. Getz and the rest of the band enter, and João offers the Portuguese lyrics. Both Getz and Jobim solo on the track. Many notable artists, like Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Charlie Byrd, Oscar Peterson, etc., have covered the song. "Corcovado" is the second most recognizable song from the album behind "Ipanema" (+)
Track 2- "Só Danço Samba" offered an increased tempo and was an attempt by Jobim to write a danceable Bossa tune, but most people preferred to listen to the Bossa than to move to it. Só Danço Samba translates to "Jazz and Samba." Getz enters around the:55 mark, and after playing in a similar style as he has been on the record, he gets slightly more exploratory towards the end of his improvisation. The track offers Getz's longest improvisation and some welcomed variety to the album. (+)
Track 3- "O Grand Amor" lightens the mood after "Só Danço Samba." The piece begins with Getz playing lightly against the smooth backdrop. João Gilberto does not enter with the lyrics till about 1:10. After a second Getz solo, Jobim showcases his minimalistic piano solo technique at 3:05, after which Getz returns for a third solo. Rarely does that happen. 'Amor" means love, and the song is undoubtedly lovely.(+)
Track 4- "Vivo Sonhando" translate to "I Live Dreaming." Jõao's vocal phrasing should be recognized throughout the album; on this track, it is quite different from most American vocal styles. As expected, Getz plays a fantastic solo. "Vivo Sonhando" is a beautiful track that closes out a beautiful album (+).
Getz/Gilberto is the most impactful Bossa Nova-based album ever recorded. Getz's playing is soulful throughout, and Jobim's writing is brilliant. It's one of the most relaxing albums you will ever hear, yet it offers great musical integrity, depth, and sophistication. Awards: Grammy for Best Album of the Year, Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Best Engineered Album Non-Classical, Latin Grammy Hall Of Fame, Gold Record.