A.B. SPELLMAN, National Endowment for the Arts: A lovely tone poem like a cool breeze from the ocean — that's the bossa nova sound that swept across the U.S.A. in the 1960s. Murray Horwitz, what is it and why is it in the NPR Basic Jazz Record Library?
MURRAY HORWITZ, American Film Institute: Well, A.B, this isn't just any bossa nova album. This is the reissue of the classic and most famous meeting of American jazz and Brazilian samba. The great Brazilian master, Antonio Carlos Jobim said: "Bossa nova is a sophisticated branch of samba — a dance with charming syncopations, unexpected beats." Jobim is here, playing piano with the guitarist and vocalist Joao Gilberto, whom Jobim says "invented bossa nova." There's also the great tenor saxophonist Stan Getz.
HORWITZ: A.B., you know Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote almost all the tunes on this album and they include songs that are now standards like "The Girl from Ipanema," "Corcovado," and "Desafinado."
SPELLMAN: There's an American bassist and a Brazilian drummer, and the whole result of those sounds is just about perfect.
HORWITZ: Like you said, A.B., it's like a cool ocean breeze, and it's because of that unique combination of musicians and musical elements, and that includes Astrud Gilberto's two famous vocals.
HORWITZ: The whole CD is really a triumph of groove and feeling. You know, Astrud Gilberto says in the new liner notes that Americans are generally not very curious about the styles of other countries. But I don't know. I think Americans have always been curious and enthusiastic about the rhythms of other countries, and even though the samba was nothing new, and there had even been bossa nova records before, this thing hit like a thunderclap. It still has that impact today.
SPELLMAN: And that impact is why we're recommending Getz/Gilberto on the Verve label for your NPR Basic Jazz Record Library. For NPR Jazz, I'm A.B. Spellman.
HORWITZ: And, I'm Murray Horwitz.