I saw Dizzie Gillespie reignite my love of Bossa Nova tonight. Bossa Nova was the first kind of music I devoted myself completely to. I remember four years ago, stumbling upon Jobim’s Stone Flower album completely by chance on Youtube. I listened, and I knew I had found something special. And it wasn’t my first time listening to Bossa Nova. Most people have heard Bossa Nova. If you’ve ever heard The Girl From Ipanema, or Mas Que Nada, then you’ve heard it before. It’s just that for the first time I was conscious of what I was listening to. Jobim opened up a whole world for me that I didn’t realize existed. The first Vinyl I got when i bought my Vinyl was of course a Jobim album, Stone Flower
The beauty of Bossa Nova is that you don’t have to speak a word of Portuguese for you to love the music. Music really is a universal language.
Fast Forward to 2017, on my birthday, I’m listening to Joao Gilberto’s version of Chega de Saudade. Unsurprisingly, it was originally composed by Jobim. I mean this man was prolific
I have a method. When I hear a standard I like, I poke my nose about a little, trying to find other versions by artists I respect. I go on Youtube, and I see a live version by Dizzie Gillespie..14 minutes long. I knew I had to.
When I see a performance like this, I get..impressions. Of course the music is absolutely sublime, but there’s an important aspect of musicianship. There’s something about watching an artist in complete control of his craft. To to see talent and appreciate it for what it is; to experience a master at work exercising complete dominion over his instrument..I think it should inspire anyone. It’s a key element to why I love Jazz so much, to watch masters at work (Bossa Nova fizzles into Jazz often enough).
Antonio Carlos Jobim’s version is below. More thoughtful, more melancholic, and more simple in Jobim’s characteristic disant portuguese singing. The critical point for me starts at 3:00-3:45. That’s Bossa Nova
And then there’s Joao Gilberto, who comes behind Jobim for my all time Bossa Nova greats. You can’t miss Gilberto with his nostalgic solo’s and minimalist ensemble. Just a man and his guitar.
Saudade is an interesting Portuguese word (thank you Isabel). Unfortunately no direct equivalent in the English Language. It essentially means Nostalgia for a time you’ve never experienced. Three versions of Chega de Saudade, each Artist bringing something unique. That essential element of melancholy and Saudade, that’s Bossa Nova. Everyone should be a fan.