Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

GILBERTO, João

(b João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira, 10 June 1931, Juazeiro, Brazil) Singer and guitarist, occasional composer. Bohemian life in Rio from '49; member of a vocal group '50-1 but remained obscure until '57. His precise, soft-voiced vocal delivery and skill with the guitar were influential in weaning Brazilian taste from the accordion to the guitar, and in '57-8 he developed a new rhythmic style of accompanying his own voice that was central to what came to be called bossa nova. He was first heard on two backing tracks ('Chega de Saudade' and 'Outra Vez') on Canção de Amor, by singer Elizete Cardoso, then on his own album Chega de Saudade '59: the title song ('That's Enough Nostalgia') was written by Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, whose work dominated his next two albums, one of which was issued in the USA, with his wife, Astrud Gilberto, and saxophonist Stan Getz as Brazil's Brilliant João Gilberto. He left Brazil '63 and lived mostly in New York; Getz/Gilberto under Stan Getz's name was a no. 2 USA album '64 and won a Grammy. His and Astrud's vocals on 'The Girl From Ipanema' was a top 5 Billboard hit. His second wife was Miúcha Buarque de Holanda, Chico Buarque's sister; he played and recorded little except guitar versions of pre-'60s Brazilian composers such as Ary Barroso (b Ary de Resende Barroso, 7 November 1903, d 9 February 9 1964), who wrote 'Aquarela do Brasil' '39, widely known simply as 'Brazil', and the haunting 'Bahia'). Gilberto returned to Brazil '80; his few later albums included Brasil '81 on Braziloid, with Maria Bethânia and Gilberto Gil (b 1942, Salvador, Bahia; a star in Brazil since '65), and Live At The 19th Montreal Jazz Festival '86.

João Gilberto: Na Casa de Chico Pereira (1958) is 70 minutes of home recording, just Gilberto and his guitar, with a small amount of chat but a large number of songs, available on YouTube.