DUST OFF THE VINYL: Gets/Gilberto

(COURTESY / A&R RECORDING STUDIOS)

JACKSON YOUNG

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The 1964 Brazilian Jazz-Samba album Getz/Gilberto, completely changed the whole paradigm of jazz at the time. The mix of Portuguese vocals from guitar player Joao Gilberto and his wife Astrud Gilberto, and the soothing saxophone from Stan Getz mix together to form a perfect album.

The album starts with the jazz standard Girl From Ipanema, and it may be the best possible rendition of the song I have heard. Frank Sinatra and others have done versions of the song but just the beautiful mix of Joao’s vocals and Astrud’s is amazing. Getz’s incredible saxophone solos in the song also are nearly hypnotic, his smooth notes and abrupt key changes seem to take you on an adventure.

This album does have a ton of songs that are purely in Portuguese, which may be a turnoff for some. However, they seem to complement Getz’s playing absolutely perfectly.

This album also seems to completely change the game in jazz at the time. Fellow saxophonist John Coltrane dropped arguably his best album Giant Steps in 1960 and he would drop my favorite album from his pantheon A Love Supreme in 1965. Trumpeter Miles Davis also released Kind Of Blue, his most popular album, in 1959. All of these albums were highly emotional and very personalized. Jazz was beginning to die out at this point because of the uniqueness of the albums, but Getz/Gilberto changed it all.

Getz/Gilberto is incredibly dance-able. The whole album takes me on a trip to a Brazilian club in the 1960’s, drinking whatever they drank in Brazil at the time. I have no clue what they drank, but I can taste some flavor while listening to this album. I can taste the fruitiness and saltiness of the ocean in this album. It was most definitely designed to take me on a journey, and a journey it takes me on.

The second biggest song on the album, Corcovado, is very different from the other songs. It has a much more somber feel and Astrud’s vocals seem extremely reverent and sad but it still does maintain the overall theme of the album.

So Danço Samba is a song that I originally despised. However once the flavor of the album was made apparent to me, I began to love it. The bounciness of the song is perfect and the short time signature that it is played on just adds to the feeling. This particular song tastes like baby shampoo. While the flavor tastes disgusting at first, you begin to love it a little bit later.

Getz/Gilberto is an album that has changed so much in the jazz world, and even over 50 years later, the album is still very deserving of praise.