Astrud Gilberto, “The Girl from Ipanema” Singer, Dead at 83

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The post Astrud Gilberto, “The Girl from Ipanema” Singer, Dead at 83 appeared first on Consequence.

Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto, best known for her version of the bossa nova classic “The Girl from Ipanema,” has died at the age of 83.

Sofia Gilberto, the artist’s granddaughter, shared the news on Instagram. “I’m here to bring you the sad news that my grandmother became a star today, and is next to my grandfather João Gilberto,” Sofia wrote. “She was a pioneer and the best. At the age of 22, she gave voice to the English version of ‘Girl from Ipanema’ and gained international fame.”

New York-based guitarist Paul Ricci, who collaborated with Gilberto, also confirmed the news on Facebook, saying he had been asked to post it by Gilberto’s son Marcelo. “She was an important part of ALL that is Brazilian music in the world and she changed many lives with her energy,” Ricci wrote.

Born March 29th, 1940 in the Brazilian state of Bahia, Astrud Weinert was raised in Rio de Janeiro. During her teen years, she began spending time with a group of young musicians including bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto, who she married in 1959.

In 1963, she accompanied her husband on a trip to New York to help him as a studio translator while he recorded with jazz legend Stan Getz and fellow Brazilian bossa nova star Antônio Carlos Jobim. When the session’s producer wanted an English-language singer to record vocals for “The Girl from Ipanema,” Gilberto stepped forward despite having no prior recording experience.

“[Producer] Creed [Taylor] said he wanted to get the song done right away and looked around the room,” engineer Phil Ramone told JazzWax in 2010. “Astrud volunteered, saying she could sing in English. Creed said, ‘Great.’ Astrud wasn’t a professional singer, but she was the only victim sitting there that night.”

Though the recording was originally intended to be a demo, Astrud’s dreamy vocals captured the feel of “The Girl from Ipanema” perfectly. Despite this, she initially wasn’t credited on the track — it was originally released under Stan Getz and João Gilberto — and only received the standard $120 session fee.

However, “The Girl from Ipanema” became a Top 5 hit in the US after it was released in 1964 and earned Gilberto a Grammy for Song of the Year and a nomination for Best Vocal Performance by a Female.

Since then, “The Girl from Ipanema” has become the second-most recorded song in popular music behind The Beatles’ “Yesterday.” It has been featured in dozens of movies and television shows, including The Simpsons and The Sopranos.

Astrud and João divorced in 1964, when she also went on a US tour with Getz and his band. The following year, Gilberto struck out on her own as a singer of bossa nova and American jazz standards with her debut LP, The Astrud Gilberto Album.

In the 1970s, Gilberto started recording her own songs, highlighted by the 1972 album Astrud Gilberto Now and 1977’s That Girl from Ipanema. The latter featured a duet with legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker called “Far Away.”

Gilberto made her mark in Hollywood by appearing in the films The Hanged Man and Get Yourself a College Girl. She also recorded the soundtrack for The Deadly Affair, which was arranged by none other than Quincy Jones.

In 1982, Gilberto began collaborating with her son Marcelo, who first toured with her as a bassist before co-producing her albums Live in New York and Temperance. Her other son Gregory Lasorsa played guitar on the latter album’s “Beautiful You.”

Gilberto was honored with the Latin Jazz USA Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1992 and inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame one decade later. Her final album was 2002’s  Jungle.

Astrud Gilberto, “The Girl from Ipanema” Singer, Dead at 83
Eddie Fu

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