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Album Review

Partly because of its Brazilian collaborators and partly because of "The Girl From Ipanema," Getz/Gilberto is nearly always acknowledged as the Stan Getz bossa nova LP. But Jazz Samba is just as crucial and groundbreaking; after all, it came first, and in fact was the first full-fledged bossa nova album ever recorded by American jazz musicians. And it was just as commercially successful, topping the LP charts and producing its own pop chart hit single in "Desafinado." It was the true beginning of the bossa nova craze, and introduced several standards of the genre (including Ary Barroso's "Bahia" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Desafinado" and "Samba de Uma Nota Só" [aka "One Note Samba"]). But above all, Jazz Samba stands on its own artistic merit as a shimmering, graceful collection that's as subtly advanced — in harmony and rhythm — as it is beautiful. Getz and his co-billed partner, guitarist Charlie Byrd — who was actually responsible for bringing bossa nova records to the U.S. and introducing Getz to the style — have the perfect touch for bossa nova's delicate, airy texture. For his part, Byrd was one of the first American musicians to master bossa nova's difficult, bubbling syncopations, and his solos are light and lilting. Meanwhile, Getz's playing is superb, simultaneously offering a warm, full tone and a cool control of dynamics; plus, Byrd's gently off-kilter harmonies seem to stimulate Getz's melodic inventiveness even more than usual. But beyond technique, Getz intuitively understands the romanticism and the undercurrent of melancholy inherent in the music, and that's what really made Jazz Samba such a revelatory classic. Absolutely essential for any jazz collection.

Customer Reviews

It's Cool when it's Hot!

Listen to any of these tracks and tell me you're NOT tapping a foot or nodding your head. I must have died and gone to heaven! This is THE coolest music on the planet, whether you're 7 or 70.

Biography

Born: 16 September 1925 in Chuckatuck, VA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Tasteful, low-key, and ingratiatingly melodic, Charlie Byrd had two notable accomplishments to his credit — applying acoustic classical guitar techniques to jazz and popular music and helping to introduce Brazilian music to mass North American audiences. Born into a musical family, Byrd experienced his first brush with greatness while a teenager in France during World War II, playing with his idol Django Reinhardt. After some postwar gigs with Sol Yaged, Joe Marsala and Freddie Slack, Byrd...
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