Bossa Nova Pioneer, João Gilberto, Dead at 88

Bossa Nova Pioneer, João Gilberto, Dead at 88

by zo
July 07, 2019 12:45 PM

Bossa Nova Pioneer, João Gilberto, Dead at 88

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Gilberto’s death was announced by his son on Saturday.

João Gilberto, the man who almost singlehandedly invented Brazil’s “new beat,” has passed away. He was 88-years-old.

Gilberto’s death was confirmed without a cause by his son, João Marcelo Gilberto, in a Facebook post on Saturday evening: “My father has passed. His fight was noble, he tried to maintain dignity in light of losing his sovereignty.”

In a subsequent note, Gilberto’s son demanded local media afford him and his family space to process their loss: “The vultures have already descended on my father’s apartment. There will be no shows, no open casket (as per his request) and I ask these assholes attacking me, Maria, and my family to promptly FUCK OFF, and show some goddamn respect.”

PLAYLIST: Okayplayer’s Songs of Summer 2019 

His father, born João Gilberto do Prado Pereira de Oliveira on June 10th, 1931 in Juazeiro, Brazil, was amongst bossa nova’s first and most revered transmitters. Known for his vibrato-less whispers and percussive acoustic guitar work, Gilberto transformed the samba of his childhood into a global sensation; perhaps most notably with his (and the genre’s) breakout hit, “Girl From Ipanema,” a song recorded with his wife, Astrid, singing the ubiquitous hook, and Stan Getz on drums. His 1964 album Getz/Gilberto, was the first non-English LP to take home the Grammy for “Album of The Year” in 1965. It was also the first jazz LP to be honored with the award.

Gilberto’s output would remain evenly paced, rarely alone or in a studio setting throughout his career. Collaborative records with Getz, Herbie Mann, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and Caetano Veloso, comprised the bulk of his work from 1964 onward. He released only a handful of solo albums, including 1970’s João Gilberto en México, 1973’s self-titled, but commonly known as “the white album,” and 1976’s symphonically swung, Amoroso. 

According to The Associated Press, Gilberto is survived by his wife, two children, and grandkids.

Our Newsletter

Follow us on Social Media