Chega De Saudade review by João Gilberto

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1959
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.5 (2 votes)
João Gilberto: Chega De Saudade

Sound — 10
Famous worldwide for pioneering the genre of bossa nova, which would later enchant the ears of jazz masters like Stan Getz, Joo Gilberto released his first full-lenght LP (he had released a couple of singles before), "Chega De Saudade", in 1959, to be hailed to this day as a milestone of the genre and be praised worldwide among the jazz community. With a fusion of jazz with the trademark Brazilian genre, samba, Gilberto paved the way for a new era in Brazilian music and is considered one of the most influential artists of all time in Brazil. The percussion is pretty much derivative of samba, with the incessant rhythm of the drums that usually makes the sound of it so unique. On the other hand, Gilberto uses a ton of chords and piano licks commonly found in jazz. Another attribute of the merging of genres here is the extensive use of flute, sax, among others, to create intros/fills throughout the album. The songs here are really straight to the point and don't cross the line of 2 minutes and a half, and although it sounds paradoxal, the album is complex and simple. The chords are really complex and they frequently suffer small changes from one section of the song to another, but still, the average song structure here is simple, mostly consisting of only verses and barely choruses, or in some cases, one or two verses repeating. I say this to all the people I talk to about music: Brazilians know their sh-t when it comes to music. I really didn't know what I was missing for a long time before I started checking them out.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics here talk about women and love as a whole, like most of the bossa nova musicians (to mention someone known worldwide as an example, Antnio Carlos Jobim). They go from mentioning heartache, relationships and the missing of lovers to purely sexual appreciation of the women. They match up pretty greatly with the sometimes melancholic, sometimes cheerful mood of the songs. Gilberto's voice is deep and sounds like "tired", which also gives the album a special touch. I'd also define his singing as minimalist here, since he really doesn't bother going much too high with his tone of voice, neither doing something complex on that matter. When you hear his voice on the opening title-track, you can expect that throughout the rest of the album, and it's in no way a mistake, because I can't really imagine this kind of music packed full with vocal harmonies. It's a trademark of most samba/bossa nova musicians, and the beauty lies there, in this case.

Overall Impression — 10
To me, this album stands as one of those which is in its own league. It may seem a little biased (OK, maybe it is) to give it a full 10 score, but it's not. The album has all the ingredients for a music classic. When you start looking for Brazilian music, you find that there's a musical world in there before this guy, and there's a completely different one after him. Kinda like their own version of The Beatles. Other musicians also took part in the breakthrough and popularization of bossa nova, like the aforementioned Antnio Carlos Jobim, Dorival Caymmi, Eumir Deodato, Baden Powell and Vinicius De Moraes (the last one mainly taking a role in the lyrics), so I'd say it's plausible to mention them here as a comparison, but few were so influential. Among the people who were rocked by this album and drank from its fountain are other worldwide famous Brazilian musicians like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. I'd highlight "Saudade Fez Um Samba" and " Luxo S" for a start to someone who is willing to know this album, but honestly, the whole thing is just perfect, down to the millimeter. I can't find something to dislike here. Even the production and mixing is well done, nothing sounds too low or too high, and we gotta remember this was recorded in 1959. An absolute classic that I proudly own and would totally buy again if it were stolen, lost, or whatever.

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