Wednesday, May 19, 2010
“Manha de Carnival” and “O Nossa Amor”, have been covered countless times over the decades since. The bossa nova—from the Portugese, bossa, meaning “trend,” and nova, meaning “new”—combined cool jazz harmonies and pop melodies with a samba rhythm. The bossa nova was initially popularized by João Gilberto on his 1959 album Chega De Saudade. His individual guitar style and the hushed, casual lilt of his vocal delivery defined the musical form and altered the course of popular music history. The music soon became the de facto soundtrack of any European film made in the 60s that considered itself cool and bohemian. In 1961, the Kennedy administration sponsored jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd’s “goodwill” tour to Brazil. Upon his return to the United States, Byrd along with Stan Getz recorded the hugely popular Jazz Samba (1962). But perhaps the biggest hit, and one immediately identifiable with the 1960s, is the Getz-Gilberto hit, “The Girl From Ipanema” (1964), available here. Predictably, many dozens of pop albums influenced by the bossa nova were released. The Brazilian word suggesting the emotionally detached mood sometimes associated with cool is saudade, which may explain why for many people the bossa nova is sometimes confused with so-called “lounge” music, and both are confused with cool jazz. In 1963, Eydie Gorme released “Blame It On the Bossa Nova,” which became a huge hit. What’s the bossa nova? Why, it’s “the dance of love” according to Eydie Gorme. How to dance it? Why, you just march in place and swing your hips.