João Gilberto: Remembering 'O Mito' (The Master) of Bossa Nova

By 
Bryan Parys
July 19, 2019

Fernando Brandão pays tribute to Gilberto by showing how he expanded samba into what we know now as bossa nova.

Album artwork for João Gilberto playlist

When Brazilian guitarist and singer João Gilberto recently passed away at 88, he left behind a legacy of musical innovation. It may seem an exaggeration to say he was a genre revolutionary, with his quietly moving, understated delivery. Like Miles Davis's explorations of modal jazz on Kind of Blue, the influence of Gilberto's subtle, jazzy reworking of samba into bossa nova can be easy to overlook in 2019.

To help put that evolution into context, flutist and composer Fernando Brandão, professor in the Ensemble Department, curated this playlist comprising samba songs that Gilberto then reinterpreted. As Brandão says of the late master, "Sung by João these tunes sound completely different, with his typical way of singing and playing guitar." The playlist concludes with what has become a modern standard and Gilberto's global calling card, "The Girl from Ipanema."

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