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In passing: João Gilberto, Master Of Bossa Nova

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"João Gilberto, one of the principal architects of the Brazilian musical style bossa nova, has died at his home in Rio de Janeiro, according to a Facebook post by his son. João Marcelo Gilberto wrote that his father, who was 88 years old, died following an undisclosed illness.

João Gilberto is credited by some with writing the first bossa nova, or new beat. This mid-20th century musical gift to the world drew on Brazil's African-influenced samba tradition, but was performed without the usual battery of drums and rhythm instruments, and at much lower volumes. Gilberto's intimate and nuanced style of guitar playing and singing, eventually central to the bossa nova sound, were reportedly developed in 1955 when he sequestered himself inside of a bathroom at his sister's house so as not to disturb her family and to take advantage of the acoustics provided by the bathroom tiles." Link

 

 

Edited by dcl
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Posted (edited)

RIP.

 

Thank you David.  This is a big loss for latin music.

 

The Bossa Nova genre is one that makes everyone tap their feet, and know that they can slow-dance with a beautiful woman - if they just get up, smile and try it.

Edited by AndrewJohn
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AJ ☝️, "The Bossa Nova genre is one that makes everyone tap their feet, and know that they can slow-dance with a beautiful woman - if they just get up, smile and try it."

 

Many years ago I had a circle of friends from Brazil; listening to them sing & play inspired me to to take up learning guitar. Naturally my LP library added  recordings from Brazil beyond the then well known artists (Getz & Gilberto, Sergio Mendez & Brazil 66, etc).  One friend loved blues, jazz, rock & pop; I played chords, he soloed & improvised & improvised lyrics. It was great fun & we often fell about laughing. In between he demonstrated classic bossa nova & folk songs; I mentally copied his finger positions &  went home to practice. Not knowing the notes on each string beyond the low E & A strings I compensated by memorizing chord shapes without being able to explain the theory: why this is a major vs. minor, a x7,  x9, x11, x dim., etc. While he was fluid in playing note-by-note melodies I only aspired to the syncopations & chords. Years go by , I am no better than then, playing less & forgetting more. He went back to Brazil, became a noted producer of pop music. The last I heard from him decades ago he sent a hit recording he produced & played upon with  a note, "That's your guitar on it," the one I had given him as a bon voyage gift. It was not an expensive instrument, a rather entry level for low budgets, but what a nice touch, a friendship remembered. 

 

Getting back to "slow-dance with a beautiful woman - if they just get up, smile and try it." He was an effervescent personality who fell in love with women passing by on the street. He might spin about, follow after a beautiful woman to offer a complement & perhaps an invitation to dinner. Whether or not the invitation was accepted both came away smiling. Bossa nova has an undeniable charm.

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