João Gilberto: S'Wonderful




João Gilberto (guitar, vocals)


Amoroso/Brasil (Warner Bros 45165)

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João Gilberto (guitar, vocals),

Jim Hughart (bass), Ralph Grierson (keyboards), Grady Tate (drums) and orchestra arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman


Composed by George and Ira Gershwin


Recorded: New York, November 1976


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

There were many reasons why this track shouldn't work. João Gilberto abandons Portuguese to sing in English. He switches from Jobim for a Gershwin song from 1927. And he buries his distinctive guitar work in the sometimes saccharine orchestral colorings of Mr. Claus Ogerman, a man who never saw a lingering major seventh chord he didn't like. The result should have been one more forgettable attempt to dilute Brazilian music for mass consumption by the chardonnay and brie set in the US. But someone forgot to tell Gilberto that he was supposed to imitate Carmen Miranda and ham it up for the Yanks. As a result, he leaves the antioxidant-enriched headgear behind, and sings this song with a delicacy and confessional honesty that are deeply touching. S'marvelous? You bet! But João, I'll tell it to you straight: your six strings are the only ones you need to bring to the next session.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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