Oscar Castro-Neves dies at 73; bossa nova guitarist


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Oscar Castro-Neves, a Brazil-born guitarist who helped create the sensuous rhythms of bossa nova and orchestrated music for movies including “L.A. Story” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” died Sept. 27 in Los Angeles. He was 73.

The cause was cancer, his wife, Lorraine Castro-Neves, said.

Mr. Castro-Neves, who was noted for both his virtuosity and impish sense of humor, toured with jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz. For 10 years, he was guitarist, musical director and vocal coach for Sergio Mendes’s Brasil ’66 and went on to produce albums by luminaries as varied as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and jazz harmonica player Toots Thielemans.

Oscar Castro-Neves was born May 15, 1940, in Rio de Janeiro, and was one of eight children in a musical family. With his mother playing guitar and an uncle playing cello, young Oscar took up the cavaquinho, a small, traditional Brazilian guitar, and piano.

“My uncle taught me the hip chords, and I was hooked,” he told jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis in a 2005 PBS interview.

At 16, he was a huge success. After a recording artist heard Mr. Castro-Neves play at a party, his composition “Chora Tua Tristeza” (Cry Your Sadness) rocketed to the top of the charts and was widely recorded by others.

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