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Classic Track: Girl from Ipanema by Getz and Gilberto

Getz/Gilberto

By Stan Getz

It is strange, and somewhat sad, how overexposure can leech the profundity right out of a song until it is nothing but a white husk of its former shape. However, given time and space, (like any relationship) “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” I use this cliché intentionally to underline a point about Stan Getz’s version of Antônio Carlos Jobim’s song “Girl from Ipanema.” Somewhere, in a magical instant… a poet, a prophet, or just a regular Mary or Joe, uttered those words in a public forum and people said, “WOW.” My point is, in order for a cliché to truly become a cliché, it has to be so accurate that, when people understand it for the first time, their minds want to explode. That is because it is rare for people to articulate things that are true enough to last lifetimes in a single moment. Stan Getz and company had such a moment when they released their version of the Bossa Nova, “Girl from Ipanema,” in 1964. Suddenly, the song filled elevators the world over and became the standard that it is today.

Now, now… I know that there are many other versions of Girl from Ipanema, and some may passionately argue for an alternate. I say to this to my inevitable dissenting readers: “nerds, let us not make war.” Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto did something universally timeless with this song. Its sleepiness is enough to make the listener feel lucky to have the flu on a rainy day. Astrud Gilberto’s voice is so naturally beautiful and lacking in airs that it shuns make-up as belonging only to clowns. The simplicity, the smooth brushed percussion, the understated thickness of the bass, and the airy style of Getz’s sax work is a fog over water as the piano laps lovingly at feet. If Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto created a cliché in 1964… I can deal with that. After all, marvelous(ness) is in the earballs of the listener. Personally, I am going with marvelous.

Artist: Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto
Album: “Getz/Gilberto”
Release Date: 1964
Song: Girl from Ipanema

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