There are few musical geniuses who can be properly credited with founding a genre of music: Fela Kuti and Afrobeat, Miles Davis and Jazz Fusion, King Tubby and Dub. Here at my place in Recife sipping cachaça with the pescadores, peixeiros, and the paulistano sun-bathers everyone will tell you that when it comes to Bossa Nova João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira pioneered (with Jobim) and ultimately single-handedly defined the genre.
Known throughout Brazil simply as O Mito (The Legend), João Gilberto’s massive lackadaisical guitar and whispered crooning speaks to something in the human experience far beyond music. Generally creating music alone with his guitar, collared shirt and enormous spectacles, Gilberto’s hauntingly beautiful songs, reclusive lifestyle, nomadic past and his assholic badassitude regarding his overt disdain for any ambient noise whatsoever during his live performances have made him a major figure in the Komuso Collective’s pantheon.
Gilberto has asked on numerous occasions to have the air conditioning turned off when he is performing, has zero-tolerance for a venue with poor acoustics and walks off stage if he hears people talking while he’s playing, leaving entire audiences feeling like Jeff Spicoli after watching Mr. Hand rip up his hall pass.
To my amazement, I have to adjust the bass on the sound system when playing anything by João because somehow his softly-strummed guitar brings in a frequency so low that it blows out my speakers (true fact). I don’t have that problem when I’m bumping hip-hop! Physicists unanimously agree that this scientifically proves that João Gilberto’s sound is heavier than Miami Bass – something every Brazilian has known for years.
João Gilberto: Original G.