I love jazz samba"—bossa nova albums recorded by American jazz artists in the 1960s. The bossa nova, of course, dates back to Brazil in the late 1950s. Back then, young musicians in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo cooled off the rousing samba with a drier, more laid back and sophisticated approach. Songs had infectious melodies and romantic lyrics delivered in a gentle, hushed singing style. The bossa nova leaped to the U.S. after the U.S. State Department sponsored a diplomatic tour of Brazil in 1961. The junket included the Charlie Byrd Trio. When Byrd returned to the States, he carried with him an armful of bossa nova albums. Yet he was reluctant to record the music, fearing it was too light for the U.S. market.
According to writer David Adler in a 2004 Jazz Times article, Elena Byrd, wife of Joe Byrd and the attorney for Charlie Byrd’s estate, maintains that it was Ginny, Charlie’s late wife, who convinced her husband to do a Brazilian record. But [drummer Buddy] Deppenschmidt insists it was he who asked Ginny to aid his cause, and that she too was initially unmoved. When Byrd finally did decide to approach Riverside with the bossa nova idea, the label said no. Byrd prevailed upon Stan Getz, then a Verve artist, to take the idea to [producer] Creed Taylor, who said yes."
The first album to successfully merge jazz and the bossa nova was Jazz Samba. Recorded in February 1962 at a Washington, D.C., church and produced by Creed Taylor for Verve, Jazz Samba teamed the Charlie Byrd Trio with tenor saxophonist Stan Getz. The album was a hit and Getz won a Grammy, inspiring a wave of jazz-bossa albums by virtually every major jazz player in the early '60s. The list includes Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, Shorty Rogers, Herbie Mann, Lionel Hampton, Paul Winter, Kenny Burrell, Coleman Hawkins, Bill Perkins, Dave Brubeck, Ike Quebec, Zoot Sims, Bud Shank, Paul Desmond and many others.
One of the least known of these jazz-bossa albums was Buddy Collette's Bossa Nova, recorded in 1961 for Los Angeles's Crown label. The flutist and saxophonist was joined by Howard Roberts (g), Jim Helms (g,arr,cond), Mel Pollan (b), Leo Acosta (d,perc) and Darias (cga). Acosta was a Mexican drummer with bossa nova experience while Rogelio Darias was from Cuba and worked extensively in Las Vegas. Helms, who died in 1991, was a West Coast composer, arranger, conductor and producer who worked on a ton of B-films and is probably best known for the theme to TV's Kung Fu.
But on this album, Helms had a golden touch. Of course, his arrangements were greatly enhanced by Buddy's warm and engaging playing. Buddy was among the busiest artists in L.A.'s movie and recording studios. His command, technique and elegance were exceptional in a town where every other musician was extraordinary. Bossa Nova has a soft and driving feel and it was recorded before Getz's monster hit, The Girl From Ipanema, was released in 1964. So the ensemble is feeling its way through the genre with Buddy playing plenty of jazz. Best of all, there are no American standards or familiar bossa novas on here. It's all brand new to the ear.
Buddy Collette died in 2010. You can read my five-part interview with him here.
JazzWax tracks: Like the other albums I've featured this week, Bossa Nova never crossed over from vinyl to digital, except in Japan. You'll find the Japanese CD at eBay for around $20.
JazzWax clips: Here's the entire album at YouTube...
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.