Monday, March 07, 2011

Music Monday: Bossa Nova ~ Jobim, Getz, Gilberto, Moraes.

Bossa Nova, described as "a quiet revolution in Brazilian music", was originally built on the samba, a Brazilian dance style which, in turn, originated in Africa.

The "quiet revolution" began in the 1950s, born in the wealthy neighborhoods that sprouted along the beaches of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Music and lyrics were composed by middle and upper-class musicians and marketed to the same economic group. For this reason, Bossa Nova was criticized by some for emphasizing a carefree way of living that little resembled the life of most Brazilians, the great majority of which belonged to the working class. Bossa Nova compositions often spoke of love, the beach, and beautiful women and seemed to be a depiction of the composers' bohemian lifestyle rather than a tale of Brazilians' daily struggles, as usually happened with samba, a music genre popular among the working class.
(More here)

But that was long ago, and it's a pity to get all political about this now. Let's concentrate on the artists who brought Bossa Nova (translation: new trend, new flair) to the North American and European public in the form of songs such as Girl From Ipanema, Desefinado, Meditation, Wave, Corcovado, Dindi, How Insensitive : musicians João Gilberto & Antonio Carlos Jobim, and poet/lyricist (among other things) Vinicius de Moraes .

The musical history of the three is intertwined, Jobim was instrumental in bringing Gilberto's style to a wider public, and Vinicius's beautiful lyrics (as translated) made the music all the more accessible to listeners in the USA and Europe, as did the artistry of saxophonist Stan Getz.

Jobim and Gilberto left and right of Stan Getz.

Jobim and Vinicius

Corcovado ("Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars") - music and original lyrics composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim, lyrics translated by Gene Wells. Male vocals: João Gilberto, saxophone solo: Stan Getz. Lovely photographs of Rio too!


So then, is the astrology of Jobim/Gilberto/Getz/Moraes intertwined too?

Antonio Carlos Jobim (nickname Tom Jobim) born 25 January 1927 at 11:15 PM and (according to Astrodatabank using data from Jobim's Brazilian astrologer) in Capivari, Brazil.
Stan Getz born 2 February 1927 in Philadelphia PA. (No time of birth available - chart set for 12 noon)
João Gilberto born 10 June 1931 at 7:00 AM in Juazeiro, Brazil (Astrodatabank).
Vinicius de Moraes born 19 October 1913 at 5:10 AM in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Astrodatabank).

Very briefly (each of these really deserves a post of his own!) :

All four guys have Sun in an Air sign, two in Aquarius (Jobim & Getz), Gilberto in Gemini, Moraes in Libra. That is the prime link between all four of them. They'd enjoy an easy understanding of one another.

Jobim and Getz were born around a week apart - both have 3 personal planets in Aquarius, and outer planets are in in same signs for both. Not surprising with a good dose of Aquarius in his chart that Stan Getz had an immediate "feel" for triple Aquarian Jobim's new (nova) music. Aquarius represents all that's new - bossa nova was new.

(To enlarge a chart, click on it.)


Astrology Unboxed said...


Great post! I just wish the more recent Brazilian music trends were as famous and popular as Bossa Nova in the United States.
Having grew up with Bossa Nova, it feels old to me, like nothing else happened in the music scene since then. Maybe it hasn't?
Made me feel homesick and nostalgic at the same time.
Vinicius de Moraes was a neighbor (2 doors down our apartment building) back in Rio and I remember him quite well. Always playing music at a bar near by.

Twilight said...

Astrology Unboxed (Fabienne) ~~
Glad you enjoyed! Well, yes, it's a blast from the past, but remains classic (for me anyway).
My favourite Sinatra album of all is Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim. Love every track on that one.

We don't hear much about modern Brazilian music, I agree. It's probably out there on independent labesl, but because it won't make gobs of $$$$$$$$$$ nobody will promote it (I bet that's the story anyway).

What a super memory to have of Moraes!

James Higham said...

It was probably Eydie Gorme who popularized it in the States though and then worldwide.

Twilight said...

James ~~~ Eydie was popular at that time for sure. She did record a couple of songs with the words "bossa nova" in the titles
("Blame it on the B..N... and
"Can't get over the B...N..."
so as far as familiarising the US public with the term bosa nova, and the new rhythm, you could be right.

I still believe it was Stan Getz who brought the true roots of BN (Jobim, Gilberto)to the notice of musicians here, as well as the general public.

I think there's argument to be made for both.

Wisewebwoman said...

Silky sensuous stuff, T.
I often think of Brazil 66 (later kept changing the numbers after their name) who brought this style of music (amongst others) to us North American heathens.
I will never forget their version of "Norwegian Wood".

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Oh yes! I'd forgotten about Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66.
They did help popularise the music, you're right.

Herb Alpert was another from the same era.

anyjazz said...

Good examination, Twilight.

Latin rhythms in general were certainly popular in the early ‘60’s. And who can forget Perry Como and “Papa Loves Mambo” from 1954?

Pinning down “who started it” in the case of the popularity of the Bossa Nova in the US would be sort of difficult. I suppose one would have to define “Popular” first.

In 1962 Gorme recorded “Blame it on the Bossa Nova” which rose to Number 7 on the US chart that year. She recorded “Can’t Get Over the Bossa Nova” in 1964 but it made only 87 on the chart. Gorme released her Latin rhythm album “Amor” in 1964. "Sabor a Mí" was one of her signature tunes

She recorded several Latin oriented albums between 1964 and 1966 but nothing of note.

Getz met with Antonio Carlos Jobim in 1962 and won the Grammy for Best Jazz Performance of 1963 for "Desafinado" and a gold record for selling a million copies.

In 1963 “The Girl from Impanema” from the “Getz/Gilberto” album, gathered two Grammys.

After 1963 Getz moved back toward mainstream jazz.

I prefer to think that Getz had a more lasting impact on the Bossa Nova music. But then I am rather more Jazz oriented than Pop oriented.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~~ thanks!
Yes, Latin-flavoured music in general experienced a surge in popularity in the 60s, not only Brazilian, also Italian (if that can be called Latin?)

I generally put it down to the fact that ordinary people were becoming able to travel by air to places they'd only read about previously - especially Italy and Spain in the case of Europeans. They enjoyed the music and wanted to hear it again at home.

Bossa Nova might have "caught on" on the coat-tails of the above surge(just an idea) it is quite a bit different though, and, as you say the route it took into our consciousness isn't easy to define.

Thanks for your input.