The man often called the founding father of bossa nova, died today at home in Rio de Janeiro. Joao Gilberto was 88. Along with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto pioneered the form that became a phenomenon of popular music in the early 1960s. With varying degrees of authenticity, bossa nova was adapted by performers around the world. It sprang from traditions of Brazilian music that reached far into Brazil’s history and reflected aspects of American music that in the fifties and sixties was often described as cool jazz. This recording by Gilberto, his wife Astrud, composer-pianist Jobim and tenor saxophonist Stan Getz dominated radio air waves for weeks and is still a favorite today.
For a comprehensive history and obituary of Joao Gilberto, see Ben Ratliff’s article in The New York Times.