Influential Brazilian musician João Gilberto has died aged 88.
The singer and composer was known best as a pioneer of the bossa nova genre, which found international popularity in the 1960s.
Reports say Gilberto died at home in Rio de Janeiro after a period of illness. His son confirmed the news of his death in a Saturday Facebook post.
“His fight was noble, he tried to maintain dignity,” Marcelo Gilberto said. )BBC)
João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira, known as João Gilberto (Portuguese: [ʒuˈɐ̃w ʒiwˈbɛʁtu]; 10 June 1931 – 6 July 2019), was a Brazilian singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He pioneered the musical genre of bossa nova in the late 1950s.
João Gilberto was born in Juazeiro, Bahia, the son of Joviniano Domingos de Oliveira, a wealthy merchant, and Martinha do Prado Pereira de Oliveira. He lived in his native city until 1942, when he began to study in Aracaju, Sergipe, returning to Juazeiro in 1946. At the age of 14, he got his first guitar, given by his father. Still, in Juazeiro, he formed his first band, called “Enamorados do Ritmo”. He moved to Salvador, Bahia in 1947. During his three years in the city, he dropped out of his studies to dedicate himself exclusively to music and at the age of 18 began his artistic career as a crooner at the Rádio Sociedade da Bahia.
Gilberto’s first recordings were released in Brazil as two-song 78-rpm singles between 1951 and 1959. In the 1960s Brazilian singles evolved to the “double compact” format, and João would release some EPs in this new format, which carried four songs on a 45-rpm record.
Soon afterward, Gilberto’s father, upset by his son’s bizarre singing style and refusal to take ‘normal’ work, had him committed to a mental hospital. In a psychological interview there, Gilberto stared out of the window and remarked “Look at the wind depilating the trees.” The psychologist replied “but trees have no hair, João”, to which Gilberto responded: “and there are people who have no poetry.” He was released after a week. The next year (1956), he returned to Rio and struck up old acquaintances, most significantly with Antônio Carlos Jobim, who was by then working as a composer, producer, and arranger with Odeon Records. Jobim was impressed with Gilberto’s new style of guitar playing and set about finding a suitable song to pitch the style to Odeon management.
Gilberto was known for his demanding acoustic and noise-control standards. During a recording session of the song “Rosa Morena”, he insisted on 28 takes to get the pronunciation of the o in “Rosa” just right. Nonetheless, despite his high acoustic standards, he skipped a contractually required sound check prior to a July 2003 performance at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles. This negligence (and the ensuing sound fiasco) prompted the audience to stream from the venue before the concert ended.
In 1997, Gilberto sued record label EMI over their reissue of several of his early works, which he contended had been poorly remastered. According to The New York Times, “A statement by his lawyer at the time declared that the reissues contained sound effects that ‘did not pertain to the original recordings, banalizing the work of a great artist.” Following the incident, EMI ceased production of the albums in question, and, as of 2008, the lawsuit was yet to reach a decision.
In 2000, Gilberto won the nomination for the Best World Music Album category in the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards for his work in the album João Voz E Violão.
In 2011, he was sued and evicted from an apartment in Leblon by his landlord, Countess Georgina Brandolini d’Adda.
On 17 May 2017, Gilberto received an honorary doctorate in music from Columbia University though he himself did not attend the commencement ceremony.
It was reported in December 2017 that Bebel Gilberto (Isabel), João’s daughter through his marriage to Miúcha, was seeking control of his financial affairs because of his declining mental state and heavy indebtedness.
João Gilberto died on 6 July 2019, in Rio de Janeiro.
Chega de Saudade is the debut album by Brazilian musician João Gilberto and is often credited as the first bossa nova album. The title can be translated roughly as “enough longing”, though the Portuguese word saudade carries with it more complex meaning.
In 2001, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In the same year, it was made an inaugural member of the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame. It was listed by Rolling Stone Brazil as the fourth best Brazilian album in history.
By the time of the album’s release, newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo stated that Gilberto “is one of the most musical of our popular singers, a certainty which broadly compensates for his lack of volume. In this regard, it is worth noting his interpretation of ‘Desafinado’. Besides, he reveals an unorthodox good taste for the choice of melodies recorded in this first LP and a sobriety in interpretation we have rarely observed”. (by wikipedia)
João Gilberto’s debut LP, 1959’s Chega de Saudade, was one of the most important bossa nova recordings, and credited by many as the album that, more than any other, launched bossa nova as a major popular music genre. The dozen songs add up to a surprisingly short playing time of about 23 minutes, but introduce several of bossa nova’s most beloved trademarks: breezy, soothing melodies and vocals; tight arrangements with seamless blends of clipped guitar strokes and light orchestration, and, of course, the bossa nova rhythm. The most popular of these songs (“Chega de Saudade” and “Desafinado”) had already been released as singles in 1958, but though they might be the most memorable tracks, the album maintains a consistently high standard (if a fairly similar mood throughout). (by Richie Unterberger)
Milton Banana (drums)
Rubens Bassini (percussion)
João Gilberto (guitar, vocals)
Antonio Carlos Jobim (piano)
Edmundo Maciel (trombone)
Garotos da Lua (background vocals on 04.)
01. Chega de Saudade (Jobim/de Moraes) 2.00
02. Lobo Bobo (Lyra/Bôscoli) 1.21
03. Brigas, Nunca Mais (Jobim/de Moraes 2.06
04. Hô-bá-lá-lá (Gilberto) 2.16
05. Saudade Fez um Samba (Lyra/Bôscoli) 1.48
06. Maria Ninguém (Lyra) 2.23
07. Desafinado (Mendonça/Jobim) 1.58
08. Rosa Morena (Caymmi) 2.05
09. Morena Boca de Ouro (Barroso) 1.58
10. Bim Bom (Gilberto) 1.16
11. Aos Pés da Cruz (Pinto/da Zilda) 1.34
12. É Luxo Só (Barroso/Peixoto) 1.58