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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

An evening in Rio

Aug 01, 2022 01:08PM ● By Miriam Singer

Beautiful Brazilian finger-picking guitar is at the center of bossa nova, a style of jazz that’s especially thrilling when it’s performed by the musicians coming to Grand Junction’s Avalon Theatre on September 14. 

In the ’50s, something deep and wonderful was stirring as jazz began to flirt with samba, the sound and dance rhythm of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Moved by the sophistication of American jazz, a few Brazilian musicians began to build upon that style of samba, adding rich harmonies and lyrics. The artist who worked relentlessly at coaxing the samba rhythms to match the sound he heard in his head was guitarist and singer João Gilberto. 

Like George Gershwin, composer Antônio Carlos Jobim contributed an extensive repertoire of jazz songs to the genre. He heard what Gilberto felt and put it into songs he wrote like “Chega de Saudade” (No More Blues) and “Desafinado” (Out of Tune). This new music became known as Bossa Nova (new wave).

With Luiz Bonfá, Jobim composed the music for the 1959 movie “Black Orpheus,” based on a play by poet Vinícius de Moraes, who wrote the lyrics for many of Bossa Nova’s best songs. The movie won the 1960 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and includes the theme song by Bonfá, “Manha da Carnival” (“A Day in the Life of a Fool”).

American saxophone legend Stan Getz fell in love with this gentle sophisticated sound coming from Brazil. His 1964 album “Getz/Gilberto” features Getz on tenor sax, Gilberto on guitar, Jobim on piano and singer Astrud Gilberto. It was nominated for seven Grammys and won four, including Record of the Year for “The Girl from Ipanema.”

The talented band of six musicians coming to The Avalon is modeled after the band on that recording. 

The concert at the Avalon isn’t the first time Singer & Simpson Productions has done a tribute to Jobim. The last time was in 2014 in Montana and at Jazz Alley in Seattle. People said those concerts were the best ones we ever produced—and there have been some great concerts over the years, including Herb Alpert, Peter Nero, Michel Legrand and Judy Collins. 

My late husband, John Simpson, wanted to spotlight Brazilian music again because he appreciated the mastery of these musicians and the importance of bringing them to you. Sadly, John passed away in May. This concert’s for him. His love for world-class music made it happen!

Tickets for An Evening in Rio at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14 can be purchased by calling The Avalon at 970-263-5757 or at

Find more articles about music here.