Bossa Nova Baby! Brazilian Beats + Samba/ Jazz Treats

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Photo courtesy: © Benn Watts

Nothing beats the Summer heat like a sizzling playlist that keeps your hips in motion. If you’re new to bossa nova, get ready for a treat with roots embedded in samba and jazz. Our favorite artists are sure to keep your mood at its peak and your feet on the move.

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Photo courtesy: Dulceva Elena

Bossa Nova Beginnings

The term “bossa” is old-fashioned slang meaning “trendy” or “new wave”. (See why we like it already?) bossa nova is a style of Brazilian music that became popular in the 50s and 60s. The most common instruments used are the nylon-string classical guitar, drums, and percussion. The rhythm of the music is based on samba and vocals are more folk-like.

Lucky Southern - Backing Track Jazz Standard (Latin Jazz Bossa Nova Tempo 140) - Keith Jarrett & Sheet Music | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Practice Jazz via Blogspot

Astrud Gilberto

If you loved our favorite female jazz artists, add a Brazilian beauty to your playlist. Astrud Gilberto is our #1 favorite bossa nova singer. Her most widely known song is “Girl from Ipanema” for which she and Stan Getz won a grammy. Her music exposed the world to the sensual nature of Brazilian music and we literally recommend all of her albums.

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Girlfriend: Astrud Gilberto | Photo courtesy: Pinterest

Here’s a nice cover of Astrud Gilberto’s version of “Fly Me to the Moon” (hear the original in my fav Down With Love movie)

João Gilberto

Astrud had many connections in the Brazilian music world. Her husband João Gilberto was known as the “father of bossa nova”. João was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who pioneered the music genre in the late 1950s. Try his compilation album, “Quando você recordar” for beautiful music that will inspire tropical dreams.

bossa nova |  Astrud and João Gilberto Brazilian musicians  50s 60s classic nylon string guitar | Girlfriend is Better
Girlfriend/Boyfriend: Astrud + João Gilberto

Stan Getz

Next up is a tenor jazz saxophonist with an impressive resume of his own. Playing with greats such as Dizzie Gilespie, Oscar Peterson, and Herb Ellis, Stan Getz transitioned from cool jazz to bossa nova in the early 60s. We love the “Getz/Gilberto” album with songs “Corcovado” and “Doralice” for their beautiful vocals and jazz influences. Getz’s love affair with Astrud eventually led to his musical partnership with her and her husband. His stamp on bossa nova, however, remains.

bossa nova | Astrud Gilberto  Stan Getz jazz saxophone singer 60s  | Girlfriend  is  Better
Girlfriend/Boyfriend: Astrud Gilberto + Stan Getz | Photo courtesy: themaninthegreenshirt via tumblr

Sérgio Mendes

For upbeat rhythms and beautiful, romantic Portuguese language, look to this next native from Brazil. Oscar-winner Sérgio Mendes plays bossa nova infused with jazz and funk. His single, “Mas Que Nada” also features collaboration with the Black Eyed Peas. It’s the perfect tune to instantly liven up any party.

bossa nova  |  Sergio Mendes piano Portugese Oscar musician jazz funk | Girlfriend is Better
Boyfriend: Sérgio Mendes

Nara Leão

If you have a child that is shy, take a cue from our next artist and hand them a guitar. Nara Leão began playing guitar at age 12 and helped with the birth of bossa nova in her parent’s home in Cococabana, Brazil. After collaborating with the likes of João Gilberto and touring with Stan Getz, her music took more of a political turn. We love her song “Diz Que Fun por Ai” for the classic guitar and her lovely voice.

bossa nova |  Nara Leão Brazilian musician  political classical guitar 60s   Cococabana| Girlfriend is Better
Girlfriend: Nara Leão | Photo courtesy: Perpetual Light Vintage via Etsy

Quiet Revolution

The music genre began with themes of love, longing and nature in the early 50s. As political developments in Brazil began to arise, bossa nova slowly became eclipsed by more emotionally charged genres. We prefer the peaceful, dreamy sounds of Brazilian music that promotes love and simple living. Add a slew of these artists and songs to your soundtrack and watch them go on repeat for the rest of the Summer.

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