Blame it on the bossa nova: Joao Gilberto, RIP

Blame it on the bossa nova: Joao Gilberto, RIP


norman lebrecht

July 06, 2019

The death was announced today of the melancholic bossa nova composer, aged 88.

Joao Gilberto had been in poor health for several years.

His musical style took off in a 1964 partnership with the US jazzman Stan Getz.


  • tomjobim says:

    Truly sad, especially with his troubled end of life. He put softer clothes on the samba. I was lucky enough to attend a concert at Olympia, the big hall was transformed in a small church…Encore was this song

  • Rgiarola says:

    Bossa nova isn’t a dance, but a specific style of Brazilian music of the 60’s. Even Italians know that lololol

    • tomjobim says:

      Thanks for this enlightment. If you think bossa has no relation with samba, you must not have heard much of these….As the owner of the Toca da Vinicius (probably only of his kind bossa nova music shop in heart of Ipanema) confirmed it to me, Gilberto was obsessed with samba and took it for base for boss… Lol

      • Rgiarola says:

        There isn’t any purpose to talk about it anymore. NL already corrected his lines calling bossa nova as a dance. It is clear, since it isn’t in his text anymore. Well done!
        Concerning your comment, I didn’t say anything about Samba, but even in this case it isn’t a music like “ballet”, that is write specifically for dance. The biggest names of Samba like Adoniram Barbosa, Garoto, Waldyr Azevedo, Pixinguinha, Noel Rosa, Paulo Moura etc wrote/write virtuosic music and deep down inside the human scourge lyrics. They never intendend to create a “dance” music as NL called it. Also bossa nova is the same. Tell me if any carioca friends of you told you about a place to dance bossa nova in Rio? No way! You and all thumbs down to my comment should study a little about Brazilian music, before start spreading opinions around. Astonishing blunder!

        • Tomjobim says:

          Gilberto created a softer version of samba, nobody told bossa nova was a dance though, but just that one of the main ingredient of bossa nova was samba, not sure what the other were, maybe hint of classical, you name it, so you just got excited for nothing.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    A long and successful life. However, I found his music akin to Muzak and rather like wallpaper after the first hearing.

  • fflambeau says:

    He wrote some lovely music. May he RIP.

  • Just a little correction: he was not properly a composer, but the most characteristic interpreter of bossa nova, creating a very personal style with a remarkable and original rhythm, which wondered all the world and made the bossa renowned.

  • Marg says:

    He WAS bossanova to me. What an incredible musician. I love his performances. Vale Joao.

  • barry guerrero says:

    The old guard of classic MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) is vanishing. I love Joao Gilberto and many others from his generation.

  • Just as João Gilberto was born in Bahia, and samba was born in Bahia, bossa nova was born in samba. João’s “invention” was to play guitar with sophisticated harmonies TOGETHER WITH sophisticated samba rhythms culled straight from drums:

    • Tomjobim says:

      You got it right, better said than I did ! Good for you you didn’t say bossa was a dance , dance police would had come hard on you…..