A belated Happy Birthday to Astrud Gilberto.
When I woke up this morning, during the great 2020 isolation event, I opened instagram on my phone and there it was, from @arnaldodesouteiro wishing Astrud a Happy Birthday. According to wikipedia, Astrud was born on March 29th, so a few days past.
I have two of her singles coming up for the Taylors Dozen series, but I’ve recently been working on digitizing material from an earlier period, the first half of the sixties. Creed worked extensively back then with both Quincy Jones and Kenyon Hopkins and their respective orchestras. Turns out both of them recorded soundtrack albums that included vocal tracks by Astrud.
Astrud herself came to the USA originally as part of the Samba, Bossa Nova wave brought to the USA by Creed in 1963. Astrud initially came with her husband, a certain Joao Gilberto. She’d sung professionally in clubs before in Brazil, but not recorded.
In 1963, settled in New York City, Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz, invited Astrud to sing on their first album, produced by Creed for Verve, the eponymous, multi-Grammy award winning Getz/Gilberto. That album that featured Girl From Ipanema, after that, nothing was ever the same for Astrud.
4x tracks, I cheated, the final track isn’t produced by Creed, but I thought was a good way to end with a track people wouldn’t likely know.
- Who Needs Forever – The Deadly Affair (Original Soundtrack), 1966 -Quincy Jones and Orchestra > This is film music. Gilberto’s voice perfectly portrays the mood of the film.
- Wish Me A Rainbow – This Property Is Condemned – (Original Soundtrack), 1966 – Kenyon Hopkins Orchestra > The film itself featured the actress Mary Badham singing an abbreviated version of the track Wish Me A Rainbow. When the soundtrack album was put out, both the cover and record labels attributed the full length track to Mary Badham as well. However, around the sametime, Verve issued a 45/single by Glberto featuring the track as it’s A-side.
- Ponteneio – Gilberto With Turrentine, 1971 – Astrud Gilberto with Stanley Turrentine > Recorded in April ’71 at Van Gelders Englewood Cliffs studio. It was the last studio date for the album, that had started in January that year. As well as many of the then CTI ensemble, it also included Toots Thielmans(harmonica); Sivuca (guitar); João Palma (drums); Airto Moreira (percussion) and Eumir Deodato (electric-piano) and of course, as he had with the rest of the album, arrangements and conducting.
- Desafinado – Listen Without Prejudice, 1990 – George Michael with Astrud Gilberto > a classic, recorded by so many, in this case a duet with George Michael. The song written by Jobim was first included on Joao Gilberto’s first, 1959, album, Chega De Saudade. This version was originally recorded for Listen Without Prejudice, but the Volume 2. was never released. Instead it first came out on Red Hot + Rio 1996 AIDS benefit album. In 2017, following Michaels death, SONY released a bundled deluxe collection of Listen Without Prejudice + MTV Unplugged + 15 B-sides, Remixes And Rarities, Desafinado made it as the last track.
Happy Birthday Astrud.
The Deadly Affair – Quincy Jones [Album details via discogs] [Album via music.youtube]
This Property Is Condemned – Kenyon Hopkins [Album details via discogs]
Wish Me A Rainbow – Astrud Gilberto [Discogs 45] [Youtube video with Badman/Gilberto]
Gilberto with Turrentine [Album details via discogs] [Album via music.youtue]
George Michael Listen Without Prejudice(deluxe) [Album via music.youtube]