MUSIC CLIP - OSCAR PETERSON, "MOONGLOW"
Welcome to Afterglow, I’m your host, Mark Chilla.
Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto had the unlikeliest of careers, going from an unknown (really, not even a professional singer) to a superstar nearly overnight in 1964 with her crossover hit “The Girl from Ipanema.” She passed away earlier this year at age 83. This hour, I’ll feature some of her initial recordings with Stan Getz and her husband at the time, João Gilberto, as well as many of her solo recordings. Plus, we’ll hear some other bossa nova songs performed by other jazz and pop artists.
It’s the Girl From Ipanema: Astrud Gilberto, coming up on Afterglow
MUSIC - STAN GETZ AND JOÃO GILBERTO (FEATURING ASTRUD GILBERTO), "CORCOVADO (QUIET NIGHTS OF QUIET STARS)"
From Astrud Gilberto’s very first session as a professional singer. That was her alongside her husband at the time, guitarist and singer Joao Gilberto performing “Corcovado” or “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars,” a song written by Antonio Carlos Jobim. That’s from the 1963 classic album Getz/Gilberto. Tom Jobim, who’s also featured on piano for this album, was the songwriter primarily responsible for the bossa nova craze of the 1960s. He first made waves internationally with music from the film Black Orpheus, which won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes film festival in 1959. This song was inspired by his youth, growing up in the shadow of the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
MUSIC CLIP - LUIZ BONFÁ, "SAMBA DE ORFEO"
Mark Chilla here on Afterglow. On this show, we’re looking at Brazilian music, focusing on the career of singer Astrud Gilberto. Gilberto passed away in June at age 83.
The beginning of Astrud Gilberto’s career is one of the unlikeliest and serendipitous stories in jazz. It begins with her husband—at least her husband at the time—João Gilberto, a Brazilian guitarist and singer, and one of the pioneers of the bossa nova craze of the 1950s and 1960s.
Bossa nova, which literally means “new trend” in Portuguese, began in Brazil as a fusion of the traditional samba and cool jazz. It started to gain fame when the style was used for the soundtrack to the 1959 film Black Orpheus, which won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, introducing the world to songwriters like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfa. By 1962, Jobim, Bonfa, and João Gilberto, one of the key performers of this new genre, started to gain recognition in the U.S. with jazz artists like flutist Herbie Mann, guitarist Charlie Byrd, and especially the West Coast cool jazz saxophonist Stan Getz. They began recording their own versions of bossa nova music, like Getz and Byrd’s 1962 Verve LP Jazz Samba.
MUSIC CLIP - STAN GETZ AND CHARLIE BYRD, "SAMBA DEES DAYS"
Stan Getz and jazz producer Creed Taylor, however, were interested in recording bossa nova music with actual Brazilian musicians. So in 1963, they invited Gilberto and Jobim to New York to collaborate. João needed a translator, so he brought along his wife Astrud. She was just a few weeks away from turning 24.
MUSIC CLIP - JOÃO GILBERTO, "UM ABRAÇO NO BONFÁ"
During the session, Creed Taylor requested that English lyrics be recorded on some Jobim’s songs alongside João’s Portuguese. Astrud, despite having no professional singing experience, was the only one in the studio who could perform those English lyrics with the right style. Getz insisted, over objections from Jobim and João, that she sing on the record.
So Astrud stepped up to the microphone, and in what has now become her signature hesitant, breathy, and warm tone, sang the second verse of Jobim's song “Garota de Ipanema” in English, rebranding it as “The Girl from Ipanema.” It later went on to be an international best seller and Grammy Award winner. And she wasn’t even credited on the original release.
Here’s that iconic song now. This is Astrud and João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Stan Getz with “The Girl from Ipanema,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - STAN GETZ AND JOÃO GILBERTO (FEATURING ASTRUD GILBERTO), "THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA "
MUSIC - THE NEW STAN GETZ QUARTET FEATURING ASTRUD GILBERTO, "ONE-NOTE SAMBA "
Two Antonio Carlos Jobim songs, performed by Astrud Gilberto. Just now, that was the new Stan Getz quartet with Astrud Gilberto, performing “Samba de Uma Nota Só,” otherwise known as the One Note Samba. That’s from a live date in 1964 at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village, released on the album Getz Au Go Go.
Before that, a song that proved to be Astrud Gilberto’s biggest hit, “The Girl from Ipanema.” That was the longer album version from Getz/Gilberto. Astrud wasn’t even credited on the original release, although it was the single of that record with her vocals (not her husband’s) that became a huge international hit and won the Grammy for record of the year in 1965. Today, “The Girl from Ipanema” is thought to be the second most recorded pop song in history, after the Beatles’ “Yesterday.”
The success of “The Girl from Ipanema” led to Astrud Gilberto signing a solo contract with Verve Records. At first, no one was really sure if the young, inexperienced singer could maintain a career, much less an album all to herself. But with the help of some arrangements by Marty Paich, and guitar and vocal accompaniment by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud shined on her first solo LP with a delivery that is cool, knowing, and mysterious.
Here are two songs from her debut solo LP The Astrud Gilberto Album. This is Astrud Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim performing Jobim’s song “Agua de Beber,” or “Water To Drink,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - ASTRUD GILBERTO, "AGUA DE BEBER "
MUSIC - ASTRUD GILBERTO, "DINDI "
The song “Dindi” (Geen-gee) sung by Astrud Gilberto featuring Tom Jobim on guitar. Before that, the song “Agua de Beber.” That comes from her first solo LP The Astrud Gilberto Album.
After the worldwide success of Astrud Gilberto, many other jazz and pop singers got caught up in the bossa nova trend. It’s hard to find a jazz singer who including Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, and Francis Albert Sinatra. That’s how Frank was credited on his 1967 Reprise album where he co-starred alongside Antonio Carlos Jobim. I mean, if Jobim got three names on the cover, well so did Sinatra. Here’s Sinatra and Jobim together performing Jobim’s “How Insensitive,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - FRANK SINATRA AND ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM, "HOW INSENSITIVE (INSENSATEZ) "
MUSIC - ELLA FITZGERALD, "DESAFINADO (SLIGHTLY OUT OF TUNE) "
MUSIC - STAN GETZ AND CHARLIE BYRD, "ONE-NOTE SAMBA"
Ella Fitzgerald with another Jobim tune, Desafinado or “Slightly Out of Tune.” Desafinado is also featured on Getz/Gilberto, although the tune was already a hit by the time the record came out. It was the lead single off of Getz and Charlie Byrd’s 1962 Jazz Samba album. This recording from Ella is also from 1962.
MUSIC CLIP - STAN GETZ AND CHARLIE BYRD, "ONE-NOTE SAMBA"
Before that, Sinatra and Jobim from their 1967 collaboration, performing two Jobim and Moraes songs, the songs “How Insensitive” and “Once I Loved”
After a short break, we’ll hear more bossa nova music, with a special focus on Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto, stay with us.
I’m Mark Chilla, and you’re listening to Afterglow
MUSIC CLIP - STAN GETZ AND CHARLIE BYRD, "O PATO (THE DUCK)"
MUSIC CLIP - LUIZ BONFÁ, "CHORA TUA TRISTEZA (CRY YOUR BLUES AWAY)"
Welcome back to Afterglow, I’m Mark Chilla. This hour, we’ve been looking at the bossa nova music of Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto. Gilberto became a star after collaborating with Stan Getz, her husband João, and songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim on “The Girl from Ipanema.” Shortly after that song became an international hit, Gilberto became an international icon. She was even showing up in film: she and Stan Getz were featured in one of those beach party movies, Get Yourself a College Girl in 1964 performing “The Girl from Ipanema.”
We’ve looked at some of Astrud Gilberto’s earlier work with Stan Getz, so far this hour, but now I want to focus on some of her later work for the Verve label. For most of her later albums with Verve, the singer moved away from jazz, and more towards the often maligned “Easy Listening” genre, singing light arrangements of well-established standards in English.
However, in songs where the arrangements included that subdued bossa nova rhythm, Gilberto was in her element, and delivered in a way that no other American singer could.
Here now is a cut off of her second Verve LP The Shadow of Your Smile. This is Astrude Gilberto’s distinctive Brazilian take on Bart Howard’s classic “Fly Me to the Moon,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - ASTRUD GILBERTO, "FLY ME TO THE MOON "
MUSIC - ASTRUD GILBERTO, "ONCE UPON A SUMMERTIME "
Two English-language recordings from singer Astrud Gilberto. Just now, we heard her in 1966 from the album Look To The Rainbow, with the Johnny Mercer and Michel Legrand tune “Once Upon a Summertime.” That was arranged by Gil Evans. Before that, Gilberto off of her second solo LP, The Shadow Of Your Smile, with the song “Fly Me to the Moon.”
Astrud Gilberto became famous performing in English, but it was still her second language. I’ve found that her voice gained a brightness and energy when performing in her native Portuguese, which she did on many occasions throughout the 1960s.
Let’s hear her now performing two Portuguese songs, both of these from the same album Look To The Rainbow, arranged by Gil Evans. This first one is a bossa nova standard, a song by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfa in 1958 for the film Black Orpheus.
This is Astrud Gilberto with “A Feliciadade,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - ASTRUD GILBERTO, "A FELICIDADE "
MUSIC - ASTRUD GILBERTO, "BERIMBAU "
Astrud Gilberto with the song “Berimbau,” from the Verve LP Look To The Rainbow. A berimbau is a Brazilian stringed percussion instrument associated with capoeira that looks like a large bow with a gourd attached. It’s also the instrument that was heard in the beginning of this arrangement by Gil Evans. Before that, the bossa nova standard “A Felicidade” from the same LP.
Although Astrud Gilberto was a key figure in popularizing bossa nova worldwide, she had a complicated relationship with her home country of Brazil. Musical skill and virtuosity were prized traits among Brazilian musicians and the American jazz musicians who championed this style of music.
Astrud Gilberto’s voice, on the other hand, was raw and untrained. It lacked a real virtuosic flourish. Moreover, she wasn’t ever really part of the music scene in Brazil—she was an amateur who skyrocketed into fame in America mostly by happenstance. After “The Girl From Ipanema,” Gilberto only performed in her home country once. Compare that to another one of her contemporaries, singer Elis Regina, a jazz and bossa nova singer who also worked with many American jazz artists but who was also loved by Brazilian audiences.
However, Gilberto’s raw, untrained sound was, perhaps, what made her such a great crossover artist. So many popular American genres, like blues, rock, or punk, value that kind of raw authenticity that Gilberto had. It’s what made her “cool” or “hip,” and it's what made her special.
Before we turn back to Astrud Gilberto, let’s hear some from singer Elis Regina, just to get this other perspective of the Brazilian bossa nova sound.
Here is Elis Regina and jazz harmonica player Toots Thielemans in 1969 performing Jobim’s “Wave,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - TOOTS THIELEMANS AND ELIS REGINA, "WAVE "
MUSIC - ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM AND ELIS REGINA, "AGUAS DE MARÇO (WATERS OF MARCH)"
Brazilian singer Elis Regina, one of Astrud Gilberto’s contemporaries, performing two songs by songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim. Just now, that was her with the songwriter himself performing “Waters of March,” in 1974. Before that, the song “Wave,” performed with Toot Thielemans in 1969.
Astrud Gilberto’s musical career stretched into the 21st century. In the 1980s, she branched out and began performing her own original music, and in the 1990s, she was featured on an AIDS benefit record. She retired from performing in 2002, and was awarded a Latin Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 2008. I want to close off this hour with a track from one of her last great albums, 1971’s Gilberto With Turrentine, featuring her alongside the famed American saxophonist Stanley Turrentine.
This is Astrud Gilberto with “Ponteio,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - ASTRUD GILBERTO AND STANLEY TURRENTINE, "PONTEIO"
Astrud Gilberto and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine in 1971 with the song “Ponteio.” Gilberto passed away this past June at age 83.
MUSIC CLIP - STAN GETZ, "CORCOVADO (QUIET NIGHTS OF QUIET STARS)"
Thanks for tuning in to this “Girl From Ipanema” edition of Afterglow
Afterglow is part of the educational mission of Indiana University and produced by WFIU Public Radio in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. The executive producer is John Bailey.
Playlists for this and other Afterglow programs are available on our website. That’s at indianapublicmedia.org/afterglow.
I’m Mark Chilla, and join me next week for our mix of Vocal Jazz and popular song from the Great American Songbook, here on Afterglow