About a year ago, I received a request from The Upper Hand Press for permission to use parts of what I wrote in the liner notes for the reissue of Getz/Gilberto Featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim. The 1963 album included Joao Gilberto’s wife Astrud singing Jobim’s “The Girl From Ipanema.” In the post-Elvis Presley era also dominated by the Beatles and chart-toppers like “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, the track by Getz and the Gilbertos achieved something nearly unimaginable for a sensitive jazz performance in that era; it became a hit.
I granted permission to use quotes. Free Ferry, a book of poetry by Ann Cefola, was published in the spring of 2017. Ms. Cefola is a poet who in this collection uses mastery of classical themes melded into observations of modern life complicated by nuclear-age developments. In the book-length poem (54 pages) Free Ferry, she manages to entwine evocations of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with 20th and 21st century realities of weapons-grade plutonium, Cold War anxieties, episodes from everyday life and, sometimes, humor. A sample:
Eurydice sucked deep in detergent aisle;
Names, celebrating pines and joy, end in ex or ol.
So many sprays—yellow, orange and sky blue.
Searching the shelf, every wife lost until one
on TV screams into a plate
I can see myself!
To learn more about Ms. Cefola and her work, go here.
I sang The Girl from Ipanema for Stan
and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s fine with me.’
After the final take, Stan looked at me
and said very emphatically,
‘That song is gonna make you famous.’—Astrud Gilberto
It made her famous.
The Rifftides staff intended to embed “The Girl From Ipanema” here, but YouTube said we couldn’t.
Sorry. I guess you’ll just have to dig out your CD or LP copy.
Later: Or, better yet, you can go here (thanks to reader Dave Lull)