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Nothing predestined the little Astrud Evangelina Weinert to become one of the great international icons of Brazilian popular music: Astrud Gilberto.
Born in the state of Bahia on March 30, 1940 to a Brazilian mother and a German father who moved to Rio de Janeiro at a very young age, she was just beginning her career as a secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture when she met the singer, guitarist and composer Joao Gilberto, who decided to change the course of her life.
The inventor of bossa nova along with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, Joao Gilberto was at a turning point in his career and, taking his young wife with him, he decided in 1963 to accept an invitation from Verve Records to record a summit meeting in New York with jazz saxophonist Stan Getz.
It was during the session of this legendary album, "Getz/Gilberto", that, solicited by producer Creed Taylor, Astrud, who had never sung before in her life, whispered a verse in English on Jobim's song "Girl From Ipanema" which changed her life.
The success was such that the Verve label, surfing on the wave, took advantage of the public craze to launch the career of the young woman by publishing one live album after the other "Getz au Go Go" and then a few months later "The Astrud Gilberto Album", where, in the lush setting of arrangements signed by Marty Paich and Jobim, the singer confirmed all the charm and fragility of her voice on a repertoire of Brazilian songs.
Now settled in the United States, divorced from Joao Gilberto following her short-lived affair with Stan Getz, Astrud Gilberto went on to accumulate albums, declining the seductions of a sophisticated "easy listening" mixing skillfully cool jazz, bossa nova, samba jazz and romantic pop, accompanied by the greatest arrangers of the time(Don Sebeski and Claus Ogerman on "The Shadow of your Smile" in 1965; Walter Wanderley on "A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness" or Gil Evans on "Look to the Rainbow" in 1966). If from the turn of the 70's and the recording of his last record for Verve ("I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do"), his notoriety gradually began to decrease in the USA.
Nevertheless, Astrud Gilberto continued to dig his own path, recording for CTI a disc with the saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and especially signing with "Now" (1972), produced by Eumir Deodato, a very personal work revealing his talents as a songwriter and definitively emancipating himself, in its orchestral colors voluntarily "tropical", from the influence of the American taste.
Afterwards, he abandoned the recording studios (except for "The Girl From Ipanema" in 1977, with the exceptional participation of Chet Baker), but Astrud Gilberto never stopped performing on stage, remaining a huge star in his country. It was not until the mid-1980s and the renewed interest in bossa nova that the singer reappeared in the international media landscape and attracted a new audience.
The album "Astrud Gilberto Plus The James Last Orchestra" recorded for Polydor in 1987 was the vector of this resurrection, amplified by the reissue by Verve of her historic records from the 60s. Awarded a Latin Jazz USA Award in 1992 for her body of work, Astrud Gilberto released two albums co-produced by her son Marcelo ("Live in New York" and "Temperance") and took part in the collective album in favor of the fight against AIDS "Red Hot + Rio", interpreting in duet with George Michael the great bossa classic Desafinado.
In 2002, after obtaining the ultimate accolade of being inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, Astrud Gilberto announced that she was retiring from artistic life, devoting most of her time to the fight for animal rights.
Biography Astrud Gilberto, by The Lost Recordings
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