João Gilberto

The Essential Works 1958-1962

Release Notes
  • His popularity spread far beyond Brazil

João Gilberto was born in 1931 in Brazil in the state of Bahia in Brazil, where he learned to play the guitar. He began his singing career on radio in Rio de Janeiro, and in 1957 he met Antonio Carlos Jobim. It was a decisive encounter, because Jobim would give him the chance to accompany Elizeth Cardoso and write songs for her.

A new spirit was taking hold in the bars and clubs of Rio, where Vinicius de Moraes, Tom Jobim, Dorival Caymmi, Elizeth Cardoso, Maysa and Baden Powell — and soon João Gilberto — were developing a new style that embraced the vibrations of a whole young generation of Brazilians. The name of this new life force was Bossa Nova, the name given to music that featured relaxed rhythms and mingled sadness with new hope. It was this newness that João incarnated right from his first album entitled Chega de saudade (released in 1959). It was an immensely successful record, and its popularity spread far beyond Brazil.

In the USA, the Bossa Nova wave touched every musician in jazz, from Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd to Quincy Jones, Herbie Mann and others including Lalo Schifrin (cf. the Masters of Jazz album Jazz Bossa Nova). The three albums that Joao Gilberto recorded between 1958 and 1962 formed the foundations of the style was later recognized throughout the world as Bossa Nova.