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20 Grandes Sucessos De Joao Gilberto

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Album Review

In the early 2000s, Warner Bros. Records' Brazilian division assembled more than 40 best-of collections by Brazilian artists for its Warner 25 Años series; the artists ranged from Olodum to Elis Regina to tropicalismo icon Gilberto Gil. Also on that list was the Salvador, Bahia native who set the standard for male bossa nova vocalists: João Gilberto. Although Gilberto is especially famous for his seminal work with Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim and sister Astrud Gilberto in the early '60s, he continued to make excellent bossa nova and Brazilian jazz recordings long after the '60s — and that fact is evident on this 63-minute collection of studio and live material. None of these selections were recorded during the '60s; the emphasis is on the late '70s and '80s, and João Gilberto is in excellent form on sublime, caressing arrangements of three Ary Barroso classics ("Aquarela Do Brasil," "No Tabuleiro Da Baiana" and "Morena Boca de Ouro") as well as a big dose of Jobim gems. In fact, half of the 14 songs on this best-of CD were written or co-written by Jobim: "Wave," "Chega de Saudade," "Triste," "Zingaro," "Caminhos Cruzados," "Desafinado" and "A Felicidade." Some of these Jobim songs have well known English lyrics — "Chega de Saudade," for example, is quite famous for its "No More Blues" lyrics among English-speaking jazz singers — although Gilberto sticks to the Portuguese lyrics on these lush performances. Warner 25 Años: João Gilberto isn't the last word on Gilberto's post-'60s output, but for novices, it can be an excellent introduction to his Warner Bros. period.


Born: 10 June 1931 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Genre: Bossa Nova

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

When talking about bossa nova, perhaps the signature pop music sound of Brazil, frequently the first name to come to one's lips is that of Antonio Carlos Jobim. With songs like "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Desafindo," Jobim pretty much set the standard for the creation of the bossa nova in the mid-'50s. However, as is often the case, others come along and take the genre in a new direction, reinventing through radical reinterpretation, be it lyrically, rhythmically, or in live performance, making...
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