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Having a Brazilian first thing in the morning

Picking a radio station to set your alarm to is one of the most difficult decisions you can make. I’m not exaggerating. Waking up badly has the potential to affect your whole day. When you pick a radio station you’re always taking a chance—there may be a commercial, an annoying song, an obnoxious radio host—you never know what the odds of having a good day are until you’ve spent weeks or even months with the same station.

This morning my choice of jazz.fm was finally justified. It’s usually hit-or-miss for me. Their hosts are pleasant, but the music can range from old-fashioned, to festive, to absolutely sublime. I caught the tail-end of this song this morning, which falls into the sublime category. Absolutely gorgeous. Double Rainbow by Stan Getz with João Gilberto.

I’ve heard a bit about how the Gilbertos are nearly considered royalty in Brazil, but I really don’t know exactly who they are or why. After a bit of googling, it’s surprising that that song even exists.

Brazilian João Gilberto created the genre of bossa nova in the 50s. In the 1962 he and American Stan Getz came out with one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time. The Girl from Ipanema became the post popular song from the album Getz/Gilberto. It featured João’s then-wife, Astrud Gilberto, who had never sung professionally before.

Following the release of the album, Astrud and João were divorced and Astrud became involved with Getz. It’s been suggested that the latter may have happened before the former. Astrud and Getz lasted only as long as Getz’ interest in bossa nova turned back to cool jazz.

It’s surprising that João would team up with Getz again ten years later with the album The Best of Two Worlds. Even more surprising that João would let Getz get anywhere near his new wife, Miúcha, who did the uncredited vocals on the album. The first track on this album is Double Rainbow.

What I didn’t realize is that João and Miúcha’s daughter is Bebel Gilberto, who was my first exposure to Brazilian music. It all comes full circle.

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