Joao Gilberto’s seminal recordings, including many songs by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, established the new musical genre of Bossa Nova in the late 1950s. He’s been called O Rei da Bossa, O Mito, Il Maestro Supremo, and O Zen-Baiano. João Gilberto changed Brazilian music forever.

João Gilberto recorded the three seminal albums of bossa nova: Chega de Saudade (Odeon, 1959), O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor (Odeon, 1960), and João Gilberto (Odeon, 1961).

Here Joao Gilberto with Miucha, and Chico Buarque.

By 1962, bossa nova had been embraced by North American jazz musicians such as Herbie Mann, Charlie Byrd, and Stan Getz, who invited Gilberto and Jobim to collaborate on what became one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, Getz/Gilberto. Through this album, Gilberto’s then wife Astrud Gilberto, became an international star, and the Jobim/de Moraes composition “The Girl from Ipanema” became a worldwide hit.

joai gilberto playing guitar with Miucha.

A famous recluse, João Gilberto is the subject of many widely circulating stories and anecdotes. Some of the most endearing concern cats, whom he adores. One day in 1960, he was in the recording studio when his wife Astrud phoned to say that their cat Gato fell out of the window. João rushed home in a taxi and took the cat to the vet, but it died on the way. While he was gone, the studio musicians invented the story that the cat committed suicide after hearing João rehearse the song “O Pato” one time too many.


Astrud married João Gilberto in 1959 and emigrated to the United States in 1963, residing in the US from that time. Astrud and João divorced in the mid-1960s and she began a relationship with her musical partner, American jazz saxophone player Stan Getz.

Entrevista com João Gilberto, 12 negativos 6x6 cm PB acetato

Gilberto plays his guitar and Stan Getz on saxophone. Both are appearing in the Rainbow Grill in Rockefeller Center, 1972.

joao gilberto