The Jazz Samba album combined Jazz and Brazilian music and was essentially responsible for the Bossa Nova craze in the USA in the sixties. Although the album had various Brazilian songwriters and composers contributing, the classics Desafinado (Slightly Out Of Tune) and Samba de Uma Nota Só (One Note Samba) written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonça guided the album to the No.1 spot in the US in 1963.
In popular music, a primitive approach to the electric guitar can be convincing, you don’t need to learn that much to be perceived as a force, take Steve Jones, Johnny Ramone or Johnny Thunders – in Jazz it’s another world. If you were a sax player, it might be hard to express attitude without some proper knowledge, unless discordant noise was your direction. Unlike the guitar, you can’t really fake it on the sax (well I guess Bowie did but it’s probably not what he will be remembered for).
When Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz got together to record the groundbreaking Jazz Samba album released in 1962, they were two accomplished musicians that reached their peaks via different paths. Byrd spent years training under famous teachers, including legendary Spanish classical guitarist Segovia and renowned classical teacher Sophocles Papas, plus he studied Jazz theory and composition in New York City. Byrd grew to be a unique talent using a finger picking style on a nylon string classical guitar.
Stan Getz was one the greatest tenor saxophonist, with a warm expressive tone. His hero was Lester Young or Pres as he was known (The President of this instrument, he was Billie Holiday’s favourite musician). Getz got to the top with practice and practical experience. He played with Jazz giants from an early age. At 16 he was in Jack Teagarden’s band (Teagarden is one of the most famous trombonists). Getz also played with Nat King Cole, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman and Jimmy Dorsey and famously playing on Johnny Smith’s Moonlight In Vermont album, the No.1 Jazz album of 1952 as reviewed by Downbeat magazine (Jazz Bible).
It seems that not everyone received proper credit for Jazz Samba’s success. There’s a very interesting article about the process of recording the album that tries to put the record straight (so to speak). Buddy Deppenschmidt talks about how the album was conceived and his contribution.
The album has been somewhat overshadowed by the later success of Getz/Gilberto and the monster hit that was The Girl From Ipanema, but it was this album that turned heads and paved the way for cool and breezy Brazilian inspired music interpreted by the cream of Jazz players to enter into the consciousness of the American public..
The Band line-up:
Stan Getz – tenor saxophone, Charlie Byrd – guitar, Keter Betts – bass, Gene Byrd – guitar, bass, Buddy Deppenschmidt – drums, Bill Reichenbach Sr. – percussion