The Legendary João Gilberto

João Gilberto - The Legendary João Gilberto

Here is something a bit different from the usual indie/ambient fare you have seen around here. A bit of Bossa Nova, nothing new and modern and over produced, a classic release that is stuffed with short songs full of life and a gentle sway and sunny feeling that will leave you with a smile. Its that peaceful feeling that gave me reason enough to want to add it to the site here. While I am no expert and know little about the genera when I heard this album that was passed onto me at some point I couldn’t get enough. There is this perfect balance within this album between a calm peaceful feeling and a happy one that makes you want to dance along to the music. From what I have read about Bossa Nova, the word means ‘new trend’ in Portuguese and João was one of the early artists that drove its popularity. This album is a defining collection of his music and in essence it is a collection of music recorded at the heart of the Bossa Nova movement.

I am happy to add this wonderful album to the archive here on the site but I am sad to say this is no longer in print, not as a CD, LP, or as a digital release. It was released in 1990 and the CD is currently fetching prices of $100+ USD through various sites and ebay which is a high price but honestly, this is a great collection of music and I’m sure the diehard fans of the genera understand its importance as a collection so it goes for these high prices. I would love to say I had a copy of this but I don’t, only in digital form. Im sure if you looked hard enough you could come across it online through ‘backdoors’ but I didn’t just type that. While this is the best I have heard from this artist there are a number of other modern releases available featuring his music that you can find as well. On an interesting side note, I just read the following on his wikipedia page about this release:

“While all of Gilberto's albums since Getz/Gilberto have been released on CD, the first three domestic albums were released in 1988 by EMI on a single CD entitled The Legendary João Gilberto: The Original Bossa Nova Recordings (1958–1961). The disc also included three tracks from the singer's 1959 Orfeu Negro EP: "Manhã de Carnaval," O Nosso Amor, and A Felicidade, the latter two merged into a single medley track to fit within the recording time of a CD. After its release, Gilberto successfully sued to have the title removed from sale as an unauthorized release of his artistic works.”

It’s interesting to hear that they altered the songs for the release and I could see why he would have wanted it to stop production. I have read other places about this release that there were other liberties taken in the remastering of the original songs as well as the new order of the songs which differ from the original LP’s. Note the article goes on to speak of the idea that he is somewhat of a perfectionist as well but honestly, what artist wants his music messed with like that? All the same, the release is a beautiful one and its nice to have these recordings in one place. Maybe one day I will stumble upon the original LP’s in a record shop. I can dream cant I?

Here is one song from the release to give you an idea of what I have been going on about. One of the more upbeat pieces and one of my favorites.

João Gilberto Wiki Page