The Astrud Gilberto Album (VLP 9087) (1965)

“Astrud Gilberto is no longer just The Girl From Ipanema.”  Or so say Jack Maher’s notes on Gilberto’s solo début Lp from the following year. He’s not fooling anybody and goes on to allude to the world-beating hit a further six times. Gilberto is not a technically great vocalist, but producer Creed Taylor has the measure of her abilities and, though surrounded by heavyweights (husband João, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bud Shank, João Donato, arranger Marty Paich, etc.), provides a pillow-light musical support, some gentle, insistent swing and the wistful melodies (all but two by Jobim) that don’t overwhelm Astrud’s artless, muted trumpet soto voce singing. Her phrasing is far more interesting and lively on the four Portuguese-sung numbers, English exposing a vulnerability verging on tentativeness.

A few years ago, a Gilberto compilation CD on Verve (part of the budget series with the generic ugly tan covers) provided the background to a dinner party I attended in Streatham–I was impressed then how good it was and so snapped up the present pop Bossa album for a pound in Hythe without much ado.

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Published in: on January 12, 2012 at 10:06 am  Comments (3)  
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  1. this is not a claim to be unique or even different – in fact this story is probably fairly typical, but throughout my time as a music-loving teenager it was always about what was happening in the present rather than the past, and so i duly went along with all the musical fashions and developments throughout the 70’s and early 80’s as they occurred, picking and choosing what appealed to me (glam, disco, jazz-funk-fusion, electro synth pop). even when i knew artists i liked had a past, i wasn’t interested in checking it out as it was all about now rather than then (for example, i was aware that george benson had been around in the sixties playing guitar with brother jack mcduff, and yet it never occurred to me seek out any of their albums)…

    then one day a girl singer i was playing in a band with gave me a tape of the “getz/gilberto” album – of course i had never heard of the likes of astrud gilberto or antonio carlos jobim at that point, but was completely blown away by something that bore absolutely no resemblence to what i had listened to before (i used to play it every night to fall asleep to!)

    but even then it failed to occur to me that there was a whole lot more where that came from, so i continued with my obsession for current sounds and it remained the only vintage recording in my collection until several years later, when i happened across a cheap cassette copy of astrud gilberto’s greatest hits (that contained the majority of the above album, including what i consider jobim’s masterpiece “how insensitive”) – after that one thing led to another, and i have now gone full-circle to the point where i am now only interested in the past (or at least certain aspects of it) rather than whatever rubbish passes for contemporary music these days!

    with regard to astrud’s singing, it may not surprise you that i now collect recordings of the afore-mentioned “how insensitive”, and one such version (and one of the best in my opinion) is by claudine longet, whose little-girl-lost singing style makes astrud sound like dinah washington!

  2. W’force-I bet the Getz/Gilberto album was the only bossa record is many people’s collection; mine f’rinstance (even tho’, like you, I’ve always thought it was brilliant), until recently when the Soul Jazz bossa comps have blown my tiny mind, making me hunger for all things nov’. Sometimes you just need a way in.

  3. i remember when i raved about that album to a fellow contemporary-music-loving obsessive, he said “oh, my parents have got that one!”


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