Joao (I Really Samba) Import
In the 1950s, by harnessing the exuberant power of samba in gently plucked rhythms and his soft, intimate whispering of the lyrics, guitarist-singer-songwriter João Gilberto helped launch a musical revolution. While not its most important composer, Gilberto became bossa nova's premier interpreter. João, recorded in 1991, features him and his guitar backed by an orchestra (arranged by Clare Fischer) and shows a master in complete control of his craft and his powers. He navigates the lyrics with impeccable diction and uncanny phrasing, heightening the drama by seemingly staying half a breath behind the beat then landing precisely on a particular word, for emphasis. He makes even Italian ("Malaga"), English (Cole Porter's "You Do Something to Me"), and French ("Que Reste-t-il de Nos Amours") sound like natural bossa nova languages. Gilberto's seductive style is smooth, casual, and deceptively easy on the ear; but even in a set with no classics, as this one, each of its miniatures seems to hide a reward to a closer listening. --Fernando Gonzalez
Interesting to hear him sing in Spanish and English also. A cd very recommendable.