1001 Albums: Jazz Samba

# 33



Artist: Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd

Album: Jazz Samba

Year: 1962

Length: 33:12

Genre: Bossa Nova



“Instrumental jazz type music”

So, I have some interesting news. Ok, it’s not really news but it’s not really a story either… interesting tidbit? Well the interesting tidbit sets up a little story… if that helps. No? Oh…

Either way. This Sunday is the Oscars and excitingly enough, the company I work for is nominated for one! That’s not my point, but because of it this whole week has been dedicated to the Oscars with a big, fancy type party thrown this evening. Nothing new with that since there’s a festivity every last Friday of the month anyway, but this particular one had a little more worth to it. Anyway, the week has been full of Oscar related activities, from a pub quiz to an Oscar statue sculpting contest. Being the good organizers they are, they saved the best one for last: Celebrity look alike competition.

Being the ever participating… participant I am, I wanted to enter into it! One problem: I had no idea who my celebrity look alike was. That’s a bit of an issue, you kind of have to look like someone to be able to contend. This became more a search to find who I looked like rather than actually being in the competition. My curiosity grew as I tried to figure out who it was, and it wouldn’t be satisfied until I do. I had to, I just had to.

Luckily, Thursday night, literally hours before the next day would start, it happened. The Discovery. There was a collective agreement from my co-workers, friends, parents and Sandra: I looked exactly like the guy (with minor differences, but overall the resemblance was pretty striking).

I’ll stop teasing. My celebrity look a like was Bret Mckenzie:


Spitting image.

I donned a white shirt and tie (but still wore jeans and dirty converse. Stayed fancy yet casual at the same time) and got my hair it’s usual curly self. I slammed my best dead-pan face (Only way to imitate the Flight of the Conchords guitarist) and showed everyone a photo of him (Because a lot of people had no idea who he was. He’s won on Oscar for christ’s sakes!). The reaction was the same: Holy shit you look exactly like him. I had this in the bag for sure. I was going to win, no way I could lose. Random employees I’ve never talked to stopped me in the halls and told me they hope I win, I looked exactly like him. Today was my day.

I didn’t win. But to be fair the girl that won totally deserved it. Her resemblance to Nicky Nichols from Orange is the New Black was as striking, if not a little more, as my resemblance to Bret. It was tight competition.

I’m glad this happened today otherwise I wouldn’t have had much to say today. Even now as I start to write about the album I find myself struggling to know where to start or how to begin. It’s not that the album was bad, not at all. Actually, I wish it was bad, it would be so easy to write about. I’d be able to just vent how horrible it was and how much I hated it. But I didn’t. I quite liked it. It was a solid album from start to finish, with no low points or dips in quality. Stan Getz plays one mean Tenor Saxophone and holds the music together with his skills. It’s great to finally hear the sax take the front stage after hearing so much trumpet playing. It really has a distinctive sound to it that brings a whole new feel and quality to the music, that I would debate is better than the trumpet (and I really love the trumpet). I always found the saxophone to be like the trumpet’s mature cousin, it was sexier and had a more adult vibe to it, while the trumpet blurted and farted. Miles Davis was cool, but Stan Getz was pretty damn sexy. See the difference? No? Well it makes sense in my head, so tough shit.

I’ll be honest, the reason I’m having so much difficulty here is because it’s just another instrumental album… and it’s jazzy. The beginning of this list seems to have an over-abundance of instrumental jazz music, it’s a jazz aficionados wet dream. I’ve learned through this challenge that I love Jazz with all my heart, but dear lord I need to separate myself from it for some time. Every new jazz album that appeared got me excited, but now I’m sort of dreading it because I have no idea what to say without reiterating myself. It’s the usual list of things:

-It’s great to relax to.

-It’s a great album to just play and let your mind enjoy it subconsciously.

-You get lost in it.

-It’s structured in a non-structured way that won’t make any of the songs stick in your head in a catchy way, but you still get immersed into the music and just let it seep over you like a warm blanket.

Ok that last part I never said (so maybe I do have new things), but it’s really just saying the same thing in different words. And the fact that it’s another instrumental one makes it so much harder. I’m not a musical expert, never claimed to be. I don’t know anything about musical theory, especially not with jazz, so I can never analyse why the music is good on a technical level (except for when my base knowledge comes in handy for certain things). I am merely a person who loves music so much he’s read a shit ton about different genres, bands and styles and wants to expand his knowledge of what’s out there. That being said, it gets hard to talk about instrumental jazz, especially when it’s like the tenth one I hear. By now, it all kind of sounds the same to me, even though I’m aware that it’s not.

I found this album underwhelming as a whole. I went in expecting to hear something different and got exactly what I was told: Jazz Samba. I find it funny how literal the title is. It’s basically telling you exactly what you’re going to get. It’s like if Miles Davis called his album “Cool Jazz” or The Beatles called their album “British Invasion” or if Led Zeppelin called theirs “Hard Rock” (Although to be honest that would have been fine, since they were too lazy to even name their fucking albums (Seriously three Self-titled albums then an Untitled one? Too hard to come up with an album name? Please)). I guess I can’t complain, they tell you what you’re in for, what you see is what you’ll get kind of deal.

I realise it sounds like I’m being negative towards it, but I really did enjoy it. I still found myself tapping my foot, shaking my booty and losing myself to it as I always do. I just want something new for now. Something different.

I will tell you this, there’s a very good reason this appeared on the list. It was more of a historically important album than a quality one. In 1961, Charlie Byrd visited Brazil while on a tour and discovered the jazz scene there, which is also known as Bossa Nova Jazz. Loving it so much, he took the influence it had on him and brought it over to the US where he wrote music for Stan Getz to play. This album would cement itself in music history as it’s impact would be enough to get the Bossa Nova craze started in the US. Yes, it was this album that did that.

I think that’s pretty neat.

Song of Choice: Samba Dees Days



2 thoughts on “1001 Albums: Jazz Samba”

  1. Good old jazz music is always the safest bet. That I’d agree. 😬 on a side note as a jazz enthusiast would you be interested on going for a jazz festival in east Malaysia on the beach. Do check out our page as we are a start up and we have some great packages for jazz enthusiast from all around the world. Cheers!


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