If Getz/Gilberto didn’t start the fire of the bossa nova craze in the United States, it was the fuel that turned the spark into an inferno. Fifty years ago, saxophonist Stan Getz teamed with Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto for the west coast jazzman’s fourth excursion into Brazilian music. Though he didn’t share equal billing in the title with those two headliners, perhaps the most important collaborator on the album was composer/pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim, who contributed six of the eight songs on the album. Among them were such soon-to-be classics and standards of both the jazz and bossa nova genres as “Desafinado” and “Corcovado.”
But most iconic of all was “The Girl From Ipanema,” with its affectless vocals by Astrud Gilberto, João’s wife, a perfect match for the cool jazz-meets-Brazil vibe of the song. The Philly-based Brazilian jazz quintet Minas is celebrating the song’s landmark anniversary with their own version of “The Girl From Ipanema,” the first single from their forthcoming album, Symphony in Bossa. Standing in for Getz on the track is legendary Philly saxman Larry McKenna.
At World Cafe Live on Saturday, Minas will perform the familiar classic along with other tunes from Getz/Gilberto and originals from their own three-decade history. Everyone attending will receive a copy of the single. The group was formed by Orlando Haddad and Patricia King in 1978, developing their sound from the North Carolina School of the Arts to a spell living in Brazil before finally planting roots in Philadelphia. Symphony in Bossa may be their most ambitious undertaking to date, featuring the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia led by trumpeter Terell Stafford, strings, and a number of special guests.
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