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A pivotal album of the 20th Century
on 25 October 2008
Antonio Carlos Jobim goes down with Lennon/McCartney, Gershwin, Amstrong as one of the most influential songwriter/stylists of the 20th century.
To judge the album on its own merits is one thing. Getz turns in small but perfectly formed solos. Astrid Gilberto's voice is ravishing, complementing husband Joao's voice with that incredibly restrained vulnerability that is the essence of Bossa. It is an album of incredible tenderness and instrospection. The studio atmosphere is very intimate with an almost homespun quality. For me its a five star album in its own right.
However, this album has a far larger significance, in the way that Sargeant Pepper did. It changed everything and set off ripples that are still reverberating today.
Each of these songs have been covered thousands of times by thousands of artists and continue to be a top staple for jazz as its played all over the world. They have spilled over from jazz into other mediums. They introduced the wider world to the music of Brazil. Arguably the earlier Getz/Byrd, album put Brazil on the wider musical map but it was this album that exposed it in all its exotic glory.
Brazil is a land in which there are as many genres of music as there are in the rest of the world put together. The influence of Jobim and Bossa and their quintessence as captured in these songs, on this album, continues to be a point of departure and return for any number of musical offshoots in their home country, and beyond, to this very day.
From a musicological point of view the impact of this album is unprecedented. There is no other album which has so vividly alerted such a huge proportion of the world to what was going on in a previously little known lesser part of the world, the repercussions of which are still playing out, with vivacity and freshness, almost fifty years later.