A Bit of Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova began on the tropical beaches of Rio de Janeiro in the late 1950s, when a small group of mainly middle-class students, artists and musicians came together to create a new sound. Bossa Nova was a soft samba based on traditional Brazilian music and rhythms, American jazz, and a new style of Portuguese lyrics. It was a youthful celebration of romance, beach culture and sensual pleasure.

Bossa Nova’s twin figureheads are Antônio Carlos Jobim (Tom Jobim), a gifted composer, also blessed with classical good looks, and João Gilberto, a guitarist and singer who came to Rio from the poorer Bahia region.

Surrounding these central figures is a wider Bossa Nova family. It includes ‘Girl from Ipanema’ lyricist Vinícius de Moraes, jazz pianist Sérgio Mendes, composer/guitarist Roberto Menescal, and the Bossa Nova’s muse, Nara Leão, who often hosted musical gatherings in her flat.

While there was a concurrent scene in São Paulo, picturesque Rio de Janeiro is Bossa Nova’s natural home. Quieter beach-inspired sounds were combined with jazz in Rio’s thriving nightclubs; ‘Bottles Bar’ was the most famous of these small, sweaty venues.

According to legend, Bossa Nova was ‘discovered’ in one of these clubs by an American A&R man on holiday, when he saw Tom Jobim and João Gilberto playing. Other stories relate that it was US jazz-men jamming with locals who made the original connections.

One of Mood Musics’ favourite performers of the Bossa Nova and Brazilian Jazz , and a sound that we do try and emulate is the wonderful Walter Wanderley on classic tunes like So Dansa Samba, Summer Samba, and of course, everyone’s favourite bossa – Garota de Ipanema.

The Mood Music Band, Amica Jazz Duo and the Bazkatz will always include the wonderful sounds of the Bossa-Nova in their Song List.

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