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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2001
How do you critique the album that started an era? Forty years later, Jazz Samba is still one of the most relaxing, rhythmically pleasing albums made. All instrumental, with the tenor sax of Stan Getz (the guy John Coltrane professed to admire!) and inspired guitar of Charlie Byrd. The entire album was recorded in one session in the performance hall of a Washington, D.C., church, and it puts legions of studio albums to shame.
While Desafinado and Bahia are the best known tracks, the album is a seamless experience and it is difficult to single out certain songs as superior. If Getz is one of the masters of the tenor saxophone, it is also hard to separate his proficiency from the effort as a whole -- it truly comes across as a tight ensemble effort. (For a contrast, Duke Ellington's masterful and equally essential Money Jungle released the same year finds the trio of Ellington, Mingus and Max Roach locked in a musical duel on a couple of tracks.)
Favorites? I enjoy Samba de Uma Nota So, but every time I reach for Jazz Samba I alway listen to the entire album. At least once. This and Getz/Gilberto belong in every jazz collection.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 15, 1998
"Great companion to "Getz/Gilberto". Pure Samba without singers.

Charlie Byrd went to Brazil and heard the then unknown Antonio Carlos Jobim. He played Jobim records for Stan Getz, they got Keter Betts and two drummers went to All Soul's Unitarian Church in DC, and created the first Bossa Nova, Samba record in the US - a monster hit with "Desafinado". It changed America, and Jazz forever. For a decade every Jazz player tried to imitate it. The best selling Jazz CD of the decade, that's how good it is. A number one Hit of the Billboard Jazz, Pop and Rock charts at the same time. No other Jazz album, not other album of any type, not even "Kind of Blue", even "Getz /Gilberto", has ever achieved that.

Listen to subtle polyrhythym drumming from Deppenschmidt & Riechenbach which add an authentic Carnivale touch. There is more traditional Samba polyrhythm on this CD than any of the subsequent Getz Bossa Nova CD's and most BN cd's by subsequent artists who tried to capitalize om the BN craze. Hear this on "E Luxo So".

Stan floats and soars in "Desafinado" (Portuguese for "offkey"), "E Luxo So" and "Bahia". Most authentic Brazilian Getz Samba recording.

Hear Stan make each note 3-Dimensional blue fog note count."

Beautiful!, Lyrical!! Soaring!!! One of the ten best Jazz recordings ever made."
from my 1998 review

2006 update
Yes it's true, as wonderful a sax man as Getz was, and I think he was the best, he was cheap. He got all the credit and most of the money for this album and he and Byrd fought over the rights to it for a decade in the courts.
Nevertheless its' wonderful. - maybe that's why they fought
This CD is a perennial favorite that never grows old.

Jobim had admired Getz Cool, melancholy Sound for a decade and had actually modeled his new toned down, slowed down Samba sound, called "Bossa Nova", on the Getz sound before they even met!

For people who like Bossa Nova but don't like Astrud Gilberto's singing on "Getz/Gilberto", this is the ideal album.

see my list of Best Cool albums and Best Getz.
Highest recommendation! I hope that when I eventually die, (no time soon) at my funeral someone will play the soaring, always happy "E Luxo So" to send me on my way!
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2001
the perfect introduction to U.S.-filtered bossa nova. I say 'U.S.' because the sound Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz bring to these classics are considerably smoother and broader than originals which can be often raspy or intensely private, but always richly nuanced. Getz's playing is masterfully self-effacing, never virtuosic for its own sake: you might forget he's even there as he conducts intimate conversations with Byrd's often Reinhardt-like guitar, or the quietly insistent rhythms, and yet he is the soul of this beach music that sounds so sad.
The best tracks are the old Jobim favourites 'Desafinado' and 'One note samba', in which the familiar melodies are taken through the most intricate, yet never alienating, variations, always obeying that hypnotic bossa nova beat. 'E Luxo Se' is a wide-eyed beauty, beaming the kind of melody that makes you instantly happy no matter how miserable you felt before you heard it. The same could be said for the whole of this marvellous album, perhaps best listened to at night when you're feeling weary, ready to dream...
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2002
This is the album that kicked off the bossa nova craze in the US over 40 years ago. In the hands of lesser musicians this style could degenerate into lightweight cocktail music, but not here. Stan Getz's feathery, soft saxophone playing weaves beautiful melodies over the swaying, dancing Brazilian rhythms. Charlie Byrd's is terrific on the acoustic guitar and the tunes will get stuck in your head after 3 spins or less. The only possible complaint is the short playing time -- a mere 35 minutes.
This recording isn't as well-known as Getz/Gilberto but is just as essential. If you like Getz's playing, be sure to get some of his other, non-bossa-nova recordings as well. (One more caveat: those looking for more vocals by Astrud or Joao Gilberto will be disappointed -- this CD is entirely instrumental.)
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2005
See John Warshawsky's review above, he obviously knows what he's talking about. This is one of those essential albums for any jazz collection. First off, it's a masterful album, every song fits, and in order, this is the way albums used to be constructed before the day and age of progammable CDs. I find a lot of people my age know the old records were better than new CDs, but aren't sure why, well that's a big reason, the attention they used to pay to the order and mix of songs on an LP, and it doesn't get any better than this one. Second, this is an historic album in that it introduced the Brazilian bossa nova-samba, faster than 120-beats-per-second sound, to North America, and Europe (and Japan) and from there (or then) it became a jazz staple genre. This was the era that saw the end of WWII big band music give way to "cool" small combo jazz, and Brazilian samba became the "other" Latin style jazz (in addition to the "hot" Afro-Cuban jazz coming out of Bebop). So the third reason this CD is a jazz classic is that it represents jazz greats Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd at their best. If you're new to jazz, try this out. If you're a fan of Brazilian music, see what Americans did with it. If you're a smooth jazz fan, try out some of this real jazz, you may never go back to the elevator music. If you want to set a "cool" mood for a party, a coffee shop, a restaurant, or your office, slip this into your working collection. If you're a saxophone or guitar musician or music student you really must own this CD.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2004
Go to your nearest music store or get on the Net and buy this album right now. Skip dinner, skip the latest episode of "Survivor," skip tonight's poker game, do yourself a favor, go buy this album. Incredible as it seems to me now, this is the 3rd album I ever bought back in 1963, after Martin Denny's "Quiet Village" and Joan Baez's "In Concert," and it just blew me away. I just played this album about an hour ago and it still takes my breath away because it is so astonishingly beautiful, melodic, rhythmic and completely original. Jazz Samba is firmly ensconced in my own personal Pantheon of the greatest pop albums ever made. I mean right there with Sergeant Pepper, Fanfare for the Common Man, Graceland, September of My Years, Kind of Blue, Court and Spark, Highway 61 Revisited, Will the Circle Be Unbroken?, Waylon Jenning's Dreamin' My Dreams, Gordon Lightfoot's Saturday Concert, and Eric Clapton's Unplugged. No matter what kind of music you like---classical, symphonic, swing, country, rock, cool jazz, Dixieland jazz, calypso, soul, hip-hop, bluegrass, folk---you are going to love this music and the bossa nova form this album put on the contemporary musical roadmap. It is interesting to keep in mind that Jazz Samba and the sweet guitar music of Charlie Byrd and rich breathy vibrato of Stan Getz's saxophone caught the public's attention so thoroughly when it was released that it was the number 1 album, across all genres, for several weeks in 1962.
So, get set for one of the most memorable musical experiences of your life. You'll be hearing a most unusual marriage of tenor saxophone with acoustic guitar, with the two congenial partners exchanging the most engaging musical conversations imaginable, weaving in and out of each other's solos with immaculate beauty and terrific melodies you'll be humming for the rest of your time on this alternately amusing and perplexing little planet. Let the rhythm of Brazil, the great songwriting of Antonio Carlos Jobim and other bossa nova tunesmiths, and American jazz virtuosity waft thru your home or car stereo and let Jazz Samba introduce you to messrs. Byrd, Getz, Gene Byrd (bass, guitar), Keter Betts (bass), Buddy Deppenschmidt (drums) and Bill Reichenbach (drums). In addition to all of its other attributes, this album has an extraordinary intimacy about it; you feel as though you're sitting right in the middle of this small 5-piece band as they trade off solos with each other. Their warm, breezy, haunting musicianship will make you a bossa nova fan for life, and I genuinely believe that you will know that you have experienced an archetype. There are other great, great bossa nova albums from this era, among them "Getz-Gilberto," "Black Orpheus," "Jazz Samba Encore," "Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros," but this is the one that shook the world. Forty+plus years later, let it shake yours. Among the great attributes of this album is that it possesses two of the loveliest, most unforgettable songs ever recorded: "Desafinado" and "The One Note Samba," both of which were written by Brazil's great composer, Jobim. This gifted songwriter (lovingly called "Tom" by the Brazilians) died in 1994 at the age of 66; Stan Getz died in 1991 at the age of 64; Charlie Byrd died in 1999 at 74 (one month shy of seeing the new millenium). But they live again through this timeless album, which by the way, was recorded in ONE DAY day on February 13, 1962, in Pierce Hall at the All Soul's Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C. Once hearing Jazz Samba, you will agree that this hall was clearly an acoustically-warm, perfect venue for making a ground-breaking album. An excellent sanctuary for Stan, Charlie and friends to get together to materialize a music form that was very new to American ears and something that still sounds like a unique type of gospel to me.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2008
Want to know what the world was like in 1963, in San Francisco, on sunny afternoons, when all the windows were open on a garden from a small apartment high on the Ashbury Street Hill where Anne and Stan Rice lived and wrote? --- Before the Flower Children came. ---- Then listen to this classic album, the album that defined "jazz" for me more than bossa nova. It was an album that made me want to flee the foggy streets of San Francisco, put on khaki clothes and drift south. It took me well over twenty years to get to Brazil, and the tunes were no longer in my head. Don't know who Stan and Anne are? No surprise. --- They were young writers, dreamers and students. ---- Just wanted to make this review a little reflective of what those moments were like, what this soft sweet, gentle, and sophisticated music brings to mind as I play it on a sunny Sunday in the desert, just wanted to convey the beauty, the pleasure.....and who knows, maybe the innocence? It's making me want to dance.--- Here's to missing you, Stan. Here's looking at you, kid. --- A love is still a time goes by.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2005
Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd have managed to adapt and introduce a whole new music genre with this important and seminal album. The title is very apt and describes not just the music on this album but also the whole subgenre that developed from this later on. Despite this, this album remains the standard by which all other pretenders will be judged. I believe there are other versions especially the Japanese remastered one which provides a better sound quality than this version that I recommend to get if you can still find it. What is remarkable about the album is Charlie Byrd's great guitar work. Naturally Stan Getz plays up a storm throughout and his solo on the first track is brilliant but I believe Byrd's playing has been overlooked. As a guitarist myself, I'm astounded by what he does on an acoustic guitar playing at high speed and great phrasing too! Amazing what he accomplished in relative obscurity compared to the modern day guitar "gods" whose phrasing don't come close to what this guy displays on all the tracks here. A great album and I highly recommend you try and get a more recently remastered version if you can.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2003
I think it is important to remember that this site is an international one, with reviewers and browsers from all over the globe - so I can easily see Brazilians shaking their collective cabesas over the comment that this was the first Bossa Nova record. It was definately one of the first to introduce samba and bossa rhythms to the U.S. Both Dizzy Gillespie and Cannonball Adderley were using bossa standards in their repetoire at the time also (much to the chagrin of some of their fans). As to the comment that "Jazz Samba" is a better and more fluid recording than "Getz/Gilberto", I can not agree. Byrd is a great player, and even a great player in the Brazilian mode, but he is no Joao Gilberto. "Jazz Samba" is 'fluid' in my opinion also, but because the dynamics are never bumped up a notch. "Getz/Gilberto" has more subtlety, better playing by all the musicians involved (Jobim's piano work on 'Corcorvado' alone is more subtle and his chordal sparcity on "Doralice" more dynamic than any moment on "Jazz Samba"), and one incredible singer to boot (and I don't mean Astrud). Getz plays far better and way more 'in the pocket' with Joao and a real Brazilian rhythm section. Don't get me wrong, I love this recording. "O Pato" is a masterpiece for its time and the recording stands up well today in general, but when the first "bossa nova" recording was made has been discussed at length - some even say Laurindo Almeida may have made it a decade before, but the general consensus is that Jobim, Gilberto, Lyra, Castro-Neves, et al. were doing it in the later half of the 1950s. That does not diminish the greatness of this recording then, and it sounds great today as well.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 1999
This album was a pre-curser to most modern latin-cross-over beat music. Fusing Brazillian latin rythms and beats with horn and sax from the master Charlie Byrd, this album is a must for anyone serious about their music. All instrumental, this is the kind of music that will send any girl into a deliriously romantic mood, so be careful. Top 5 in my 200+ CD collection.
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