Boss Nova Pioneer João Gilberto Has Died At 88

Fans from around the world are mourning the loss of bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto, who passed away on Saturday. The father of bossa nova music died of natural causes in his home in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 88.

João Gilberto was a Brazilian guitarist and singer who was a pioneer of bossa nova music. In the early 1960s, João partnered with Brazilian composer and songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim, American saxophonist Stan Getz, and vocalist Astrud Gilberto (his wife at the time) on popular bossa nova recordings, including the hit record “The Girl From Ipanema.”

Their mix of traditional samba with contemporary jazz created a new style of music that quickly caught on. At the Grammy Awards in 1965, their album “Getz/Gilberto” won Grammys for album of the year, best jazz instrumental album, and best-engineered album. Getz/Gilberto is considered the record that popularized bossa nova worldwide, and was one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time.

(From left to right, João Gilberto, Antonio Carolos Jobim, Stan Getz)

João Gilberto lived alone from around 2009. His final years were marked by money problems as well as declining health. It was reported in December of 2017 that his daughter Bebel (Isabel) was seeking control of his financial affairs because of his declining mental state and heavy indebtedness.

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