Stan Getz & João Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto
Oct 13, 2020
The History of the Albums - n’ 236

[I invite you to read my review of Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd's Jazz Samba album and Joao Gilberto's Chega de saudade album, in order to better understand the context and to learn more about their respective biographies]. Today we will therefore analyse and revisit the fabulous masterpiece Getz / Gilberto, often cited as the best Bossa Nova and Samba-Jazz album of all time, and for the moment I find that this status is clearly deserved. In 1964, Bossa Nova had existed unofficially for just 10 years in the form we know it today, but it took a decade for it to reach its apogee thanks to the meeting of 3 geniuses of the genre: jazzman Stan Getz and the pioneers of Bossa Nova: João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim (because yes, although only the first 2 are cited in the title of the album, Jobim's contribution is almost identical, so it is logical to give him credit for this immense success as well). Was the legendary cast finally predestined to create something so wonderful? It is highly probable, but it is also a story of alchemy, a chemical reaction that pushed back the limits of Bossa Nova and Samba Jazz that had already offered so much. Above all, I would say that the result of this success can be explained above all by genius, as if it were destiny that it should happen. That's what we're going to see from now on

If we go back a little further to the source, it is finally the exceptional guest of this album Antônio Carlos Jobim, composer, musician and singer often described as the Father of Bossa Nova to whom we owe a lot. He was surely one of the most innovative and creative precursors, even though he was more discreet and less popular with the general public than João Gilberto. However, it was above all his innovations, his compositions and his collaborative work from the shadows that laid the foundations of his legend. João Gilberto arrived a little later, but he also remains the only precursor of the Bossa Nova that can be put on the same level as Jobim. As well as being creative too, João Gilberto was such a brilliant singer/musician and songwriter that he became the muse of the Bossa Nova movement at the end of the 1950s. After a very strong activity from 1958 to 1961, he experienced a more backward period until he worked with Getz. Ironically in Brazil, its country of origin, Bossa Nova was beginning to lose speed at the expense of Samba and later MPB. In contrast, in the US, Bossa Nova and Samba Jazz was erupting, becoming one of the trends of American artists and listeners. Moreover, it is mainly thanks to Jobim and Gilberto that Americans fell in love with the genre. And so it is the case of Stan Getz, a legendary jazz saxophonist who originally trained with Cool Jazz and Be-bop. However, in the early 60s, he fell in love with Brazilian music thanks to Charlie Byrd with whom he made a collaborative album. It was so successful in the United States that one of his Desafinado interpretations ended up winning the Grammy Award, not to mention a million sales. Thus Getz continued to work on current, producing Big Band Bossa Nova in 1962 and Jazz Samba Encore with Luiz Bonfa (another pioneer of the genre) in 1963.

Although he has been able to take full advantage of this trend, it is not because an artist is successful in his own country by "appropriating" a "foreign" style that it is necessarily a reference. In this case he and the Brazilian artists had so much mutual respect that Stan Getz can be considered as the American artist having best incarnated the Bossa Nova and the Samba Jazz of all times. As if he was predestined to be. If one organizes the meeting of the best saxophonist of the genre, the best singer/guitarist, and the best pianist/composer, it was almost inevitable to make an exceptional work. Recorded on 2 sessions of March 1963, Getz/Gilberto became a reference popularizing and propelling the Bossa Nova in the whole world through 8 totally miraculous compositions (original or reworked). Not only it allowed Bossa Nova to know again its hour of glory but moreover it allowed the jazz which was struggling commercially because of the popular genres/styles to revive itself. With an unpublished guest like Astrud, the wife of João Gilberto and a really splendid production/engineering signed Phil Ramone, all the actors of this album seemed touched by the grace of God. In fact it was as if the whole trio had pushed each other, pushing the limits of their already immense talents, to obtain a result that was both natural and unbeatable. Getz/Gilberto managed to sweep away all the Bossa Nova albums released in America or elsewhere that took advantage of the popularity of the genre, thus putting a final fist of honor to any discussion. The almost totality of the present songs became standards and that is understandable. Getz/Gilberto is an experience which touches you in full heart, because of its calmness, its romanticism, its subtlety, its sophistication, its emotions, its warm melodies, its divine interpretation and finally all this delicacy which comes to caress your eardrums and to fill you with happiness. Among the most important moments of this one, it is inevitable not to mention the new version of Desafinado, the moving introduction The Girl from Ipanema, the now classic Corcovado, and to finish the sweet ballads Para Machucar Meu Coração and So Danso Samba. Finally we realize that there are almost only strong moments, it is the magic of an indispensable work
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