Remembering Astrud Gilberto

March 29, 1940 – June 5, 2023

A tribute to the bossa-nova singer

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Singer Astrud Gilberto passed away on June 5, 2023, at the age of 83.

She was born Astrud Evangelina Weinert on Mar. 29, 1940, in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

She married singer-guitarist Joao Gilberto in 1959 and occasionally sang with him in Brazil.

In 1963, she accompanied her husband to a recording session with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz that resulted in the famous Getz/Gilberto album.

When it was decided that a vocal in English would suit “The Girl From Ipanema,” since Joao Gilberto could not sing in English, Astrud was enlisted, and the recording (her first appearance on records) became a sensation, making her famous as the first major female bossa nova singer. She also sang “Corcovado (Quiet Nights)” on the album.

That year, the Gilbertos moved to the United States, but their marriage only lasted until late 1964.

In 1964, Astrud Gilberto toured with Stan Getz, appeared in the movies “Get Yourself A College Girl” (singing “The Girl From Ipanema”) and “The Hanged Man,” and helped introduce Benny Carter’s “Only Trust Your Heart.”

She led a series of popular albums for Verve during the second half of the 1960s and recorded a collaboration with Stanley Turrentine for CTI in 1971, although none of these records equaled the phenomenal success of “The Girl From Ipanema.”

In the 1980s, when she recorded her last record, Gilberto toured with a group that had trombonist David Sacks as the only horn (instead of tenor) and her son Marcello Gilberto on bass.

After 2002, Astrud Gilberto made few appearances and was largely retired from music, becoming an advocate for the rights of animals.

Here is Astrud Gilberto in 1970 on the Ed Sullivan Show, singing a medley of “The Girl From Ipanema” (in Portuguese), “One Note Samba,” “Manha de Carnaval,” “Agua de Beber,” and finally back to “The Girl From Ipanema” (partly in English).

– Scott Yanow


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