Summertime Bossa Nova

By Chris Breitenbach

I’m a huge fan of bossa nova--the summery, jazzy, intimate, samba-inflected Brazilian music that cut a quirky swath through late '50s and '60s popular music. Perfect music for breezy summer nights, Hoopla has several classics available for streaming. Here are a few I think you’ll enjoy.

  • Ofertório (Ao Vivo)

    2018 by Velosa, Caetano

    A wonderful live album, with the great Caetano Velosa being supported by his talented sons Moreno, Tom and Zeca. The musicianship, harmonies and song-craft are all abundantly evident, and the live setting gives it all a wonderfully rich, spacious quality. Summer music imbued with what in Brazil is known as saudade, “a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia.”

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  • Cantar

    2016 by Costa, Gal

    Many of Costa’s first classic albums, released in the '60s, were part of the Brazilian musical movement known as Música popular brasileira, or MPB, a restless genre of music that mixed the influence of bossa nova with rock, psychedelia, baroque pop and rock ‘n roll. Cantar, from ‘74, signaled a change toward the pop side of Costa's enthusiasms.

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  • Jazz Samba

    2018 by Getz, Stan

    Both Getz and Byrd probably did more to popularize the bossa nova sound in the United States than anyone else. Both recorded a handful of classic bossa-influenced albums that stayed true to the sound while soaking it in their own jazz backgrounds. Here they combined forces to create one of the earliest bossa nova classics.

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  • Tempo Feliz

    2006 by Powell, Baden

    One of Brazil’s greatest guitarists, Baden Powell kinda just did his own thing, playing classically influenced instrumentals that never shied away from contemporary influences like bossa nova. Tempo Feliz, recorded in ‘66, is a wonderful example of his warm playing, bathed in samba rhythms.

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  • Aquarela Do Brasil

    1986 by Thielemans, Toots

    Elis Regina is perhaps the greatest singer to emerge from Brazil in the 20th century, a living legend little known in the United States. This delightful album she made with jazz-harmonica master Toots Thielmans was my introduction to her, and it also happens to be one of the best albums she ever cut. I have the cover framed and hanging in my house.

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  • Wave

    2018 by Jobim, Antonio Carlos

    Along with João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim helped to create and popularize the bossa nova sound. Where Gilberto brought the swinging, syncopated guitar and intimate croon, Jobim introduced the orchestra to bossa nova. Wave is another classic of the crossover bossa sound popularized by Jobim throughout the '60s in the United States.

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  • Brasil

    1981 by Gilberto, Joao

    A true gem from 1981, with Gilberto joined three of Brazil’s most famous artists, just a few of the first generation to be influenced by his “new wave” sound. An exquisite album by four masters all at the height of their powers.

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  • Samba 68

    2018 by Valle, Marcos

    One of the many Brazilian artists to enjoy crossover appeal in the United States, where bossa nova happily took root throughout the '60s, Valle’s Samba ‘68 album is slick with samba rhythms perfect for shaking your hips under summer stars.

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  • Club Da Esquina 1

    1971 by Nascimento, Milton

    Young Brazilan musicians coming of age in the 1960s, like Milton Nascimento and Lo Borges, began making exquisite albums that swept up all the music they were steeped in--bossa nova, folk, samba and especially rock ‘n roll--and began to stir it all together. This amazing, soaring double-album may be the best synthesis of those ingredients.

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  • Salud! Joao Gilberto, Originator of the Bossa Nova

    1963 by Hendricks, Jon

    Vocalist Jon Hendricks was a huge fan of João Gilberto, one of bossa nova’s originators, and cut this beautifully true to the form album of bossa covers just as the genre was taking off in the United States.

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