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Chapter 2

[1] November 21, 1962. Carnegie Hall. João Gilberto was preparing to go onstage to perform at a widely publicized concert that featured fellow Brazilian artists Sérgio Ricardo, Newton Mendonça, Oscar Castro-Neves, Sérgio Mendes, Carlos Lyra, Luiz Bonfá, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and several others. They comprised some of the most prominent performers and creators of bossa nova. This was no ordinary concert. These Brazilians were sharing the stage with American artists like Stan Getz, Gary McFarland, and Lalo Schifrin. Sidney Frey, president of Audio Fidelity records and one of the individuals who helped organize the concert, was recording the performance for his label. (He later released the recording on an album titled Bossa Nova at Carnegie Hall.) The United States Information Agency (USIA), the branch of the government devoted to public diplomacy, also set up microphones to broadcast the concert. Personnel from Voice of America, the USIA radio station known for broadcasting jazz to populations behind the Iron Curtain, also helped. CBS personnel also attended. The network was making the concert the subject of their Eyewitness series and brought in a video news crew to document the event and interview its participants. CBS later released their feature, “The New Beat,” on December 28.          Brazilian diplomats likewise attended the concert. Earlier that year, Frey asked Mário Dias Costa, head of the Cultural Division at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to help sponsor the event. The ambassador thought it was a good idea and secured governmental funds to pay for some of the flights. Varig Airlines and Emissoras Associadas, a Brazilian media conglomerate, paid for some of the others. The Brazilian Institute of Coffee (IBC) contributed as well, signing a contract that ensured only Brazilian coffee would be served to audience members. Brazilian companies invested heavily in the performance since it was seen as a representation of Brazil's culture and economy. It was crucial to Brazil's image that the performance run well. Dias Costa even decided to personally attend the concert to “make sure that, at the hotel, nobody would eat their fingers or scratch their balls in front of the ladies.” Gilberto never behaved that improperly while in New York, but he did realize that he had a problem moments before he was supposed to go on stage: his pants were not properly ironed. Gilberto got ahold of Dias Costa, the individual in charge of solving such public relations problems, and said, “look, Mario, it’s not straight. I can’t go on like this.”          Dias Costa understood Gilberto’s problem but did not know what to do about it. So, he asked the Brazilian vice-consul to New York, Dona Dora Vasconcellos, to find a solution. The two diplomats managed to find Carnegie Hall’s in-house seamstress and together they located the ironing room and forced the door open. Vasconcellos ironed the pants while Carlos Lyra was on stage singing “Inflûencia do jazz.” Gilberto waited in his dressing room in his underwear.

d in Castro, 251.

[2] Three weeks later. December 11, 1962. Washington D.C. The Brazilian ambassador to the United States, Roberto de Oliveira Campos, had just written a letter of appreciation to local Washington D.C.-based disc jockey Felix Grant. It read: “this is to express my appreciative thanks for your kind and valuable assistance in connection with the recent premier of bossa nova music. There is no doubt that your cooperation in organizing this event and your excellent introduction of the artists contributed greatly to the outstanding success of the program.” The premier to which Campos referred was not the Carnegie Hall show that happened on November 21. Instead, Castro was referencing a different show that occurred on December 5, 1962, in the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University.          It was hosted by Felix Grant. The concert not only featured most of the same musicians who performed at Carnegie Hall a few weeks before, but it was also hosted by the Brazilian Foreign Ministry. These two performances were part of what the Foreign Ministry hoped would be a “Brazilian week in New York” – a festival that not only included the Carnegie Hall show, but three additional concerts, a Brazilian film festival, and a feature of Brazilian painting displayed in Show Magazine. However, it appears that some of those events did not occur or were not publicized; and those that did occur took place in cities outside of New York City, like in Washington D.C.          Nevertheless, Brazilian diplomats like Campos felt happy enough with the concert at Lisner Auditorium. Campos appreciated Grant’s role in organizing the concert. He also praised the DJ’s efforts in disseminating bossa nova in general. His letter continued: “I am sure, also, that your pioneer [sic] efforts in presenting Brazilian popular music to the listeners of your program on WMAL were instrumental in making this concert so well received.”          Grant’s WMAL program, “The Album Sound,” to which Campos referred, was one of the first programs to introduce bossa nova to American ears. Grant first heard bossa nova in 1957 while listening to a record off Captiol Records’ “International Line.” The albums from that line featured samples of music from all over the world. One Capitol album featured two Luiz Bonfá songs that captivated Grant. He called a Capitol Records representative who sent him the full Bonfá album, Luiz Bonfá’s Brazilian Guitar. The representative later sent an album by the singer Maysa Matarazzo as well. This inaugurated Grant’s love of Brazilian music that lasted the rest of his life.

[3] Several familiar themes run through these various Cold War-era vignettes from 1962, notably the role consumer culture played in establishing global hegemony and how federal governments worked with private airline industries to likewise expand commercial interests, philanthropy, and educational partnerships. During the 1950s, American designers worked under the Mutual Security Agency and alongside the Museum of Modern Art to present domestic consumer culture as a symbol of progressive, middle-class lifestyles concomitant with the “American way."          Similarly, Emissoras Associadas also strove to promote an “American way” (or even “Brazilian way” of life) when they helped send Gilberto, Ricardo, Mendonça, Castro-Neves, Mendes, Lyra, Bonfá, Jobim, and several others, to Carnegie Hall.          Relatedly, throughout the twentieth century, the United States government worked with Pan American Airlines to establish themselves as a global hegemonic power, just without the messy burdens that came with traditional imperialism.          Varig Airlines – who also helped pay the airfare for Brazilian musicians to attend the 1962 “Brazilian Week in New York” – similarly vied for hegemonic power, just on a smaller scale. Similarly, João Gilberto, Carlos Lyra, and Antônio Carlos Jobim, performing under the auspices of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also engaged in a diplomatic mission of their own.

[4] But why? Why were so many Brazilian musicians, individuals, private companies, governmental organizations, and diplomats interested in introducing bossa nova to Americans? Studying cultural exchange from the American point of view helps provide some answers.          For instance, the U.S. State Department sent predominantly black and interracial jazz groups abroad during the 1950s and 1960s to promote the triumph of democracy even though African Americans were still living under a Jim Crow system that legalized racial segregation in their home country.          At the same time, the Music Advisory Panel – which selected the musicians and repertoire for the State Department tours – ensured that musicians with classical training received most of the funding. These panelists felt that showcasing symphonic music – composed by Americans whenever possible – demonstrated that the United States possessed their own sophisticated and erudite tradition.          Thus, panelists and officials intended jazz or classical music to convey certain ideals.

[5] The United States felt that such diplomacy and exchange was a one-way street. In 1953, the State Department’s International Information Administration (IIA) published a chart that visually depicted how the State Department understood its foreign policy mission at the time.          The chart comprised of a one-way downward-flowing river that carried funds and personnel from the United States Information Service and IIA into “Country X” to further American interests. The river, carrying the culture of foreign countries, never flowed back into the United States. However, countries, or their populations, rarely received such diplomatic exchange passively. They often responded with exchange ideas of their own. The promotion of bossa nova abroad by the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, colloquially known as Itamaraty, offers one example.

[6] Itamaraty valued bossa nova for two primary reasons: they initially promoted it as an example of refined, middle-class, and modern – not exotic – music that would help legitimize Brazil in the eyes of the world. However, diplomats also engulfed bossa nova in Cold War-era political debates regarding Brazil’s future. Officials like Campos and later Juracy Magalhães, who would also thank Felix Grant for promoting bossa nova in the United States, opposed the left-leaning presidency of Jânio Quadros (1961), later helped overthrow president João Goulart (1961-64), and advocated for the free market principles of the Castello Branco military dictatorship (1964-67).

[7] The Kennedy and Johnson administrations skeptically viewed the left leaning Quadros and Goulart presidencies. The Johnson administration even embraced the Branco regime and championed it as an institution that would restore democracy to Brazil. Likewise, Brazil’s right-wing factions and the military dictatorship both relied on American aid and involvement. While leftist nationalists like José Ramos Tinhorão despised bossa nova because, in his view, it “Americanized” what he thought was “authentic” Brazilian music, the Brazilian right used bossa nova as a symbol to represent their ideals. From the Philippines to Cuba, the circulation of musicians, particularly jazz musicians, has often followed behind military expansion and conquest.                   The story of bossa nova’s arrival to the United States documents a similar history, highlighting the nefarious political context that surrounded the cultural exchange between Brazilian and American musicians and actors during the 1960s. Itamaraty officials like Roberto Campos and Juracy Magalhães capitalized on bossa nova’s success in the United States to align themselves, and the movements they represented, with the economic and political policies of the United States government during the Cold War. In order to understand this moment in 1962, when Varig and Emissoras Associadas paid for the tickets to send Brazilian musicians to Carnegie Hall, when the Brazilian Institute of Coffee ensured that only their coffee would be served at this concert, and when diplomats like Mario Dias Costa, Dona Dora Vasconcellos, and Roberto Campos invested their time and energy in order to guarantee that bossa nova in the United States would be well received – a brief summary of the history of cultural exchange between Brazil and the United States is needed.

Bill Coss, “Bossa Nova: Carnegie Hall, New York City,” DownBeat, January 3, 1963, 35; “Bossa Suffers Shoddy Showcase,” Billboard, December 1, 1962, 12–16; “Frey Explains ‘Negative’ Showing of Bossa Nova at Carnegie Hall,” Cash Box, December 22, 1962, 45.

Costa quoted in Castro, Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World, 247.

Gilberto quoted in Castro, 251.

“Program Entitled "Modern Popular Brazilian Music Including ‘Bossa Nova,’ Lisner Auditorium GWU, Washington, D.C., December 5, 1962” (December 5, 1962), b08f008-001, Felix E. Grant Collection,

Allegedly, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry had scheduled concerts for Philadelphia and Miami as well. See Jack Maher and Bob Rolontz, “Saga of the Bossa Nova Rolls On & On: Now Big Bands Busting into the Act; Tito Puente - Bossa Nova by Puente,” Billboard, November 3, 1962, 26.

Roberto de Oliveira Campos to Felix Grant, “Letter from Brazilian Ambassador Roberto de Oliveira Campos to Felix Grant, December 11, 1962,” December 11, 1962, b07f008-001, Felix E. Grant Collection,

Felix Grant and Bryant DuPre, 1989 Interview with Bryant (Williams) DuPre, March 1, 1989, Felix E. Grant Collection.

Greg Castillo, Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of Midcentury Design (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2010).

James P. Woodard notes how Madison Avenue advertisers helped cultivate Brazilian consumer culture, exemplified by Emissoras Associadas, in “Marketing Modernity: The J. Walter Thompson Company and North American Advertising in Brazil, 1929-1939,” Hispanic American Historical Review 82, no. 2 (May 2002): 257–90 and Brazil’s Revolution in Commerce: Creating Consumer Capitalism in the American Century (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2020). Woodard’s “Consumer Culture, Market Empire, and the Global South,” Journal of World History 23, no. 2 (2012), details consumer culture in the Global South more broadly.

Jenifer Van Vleck, Empire of the Air: Aviation and the American Ascendancy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013).

A special edition of Diplomatic History, Vol. 36, No. 1 (January 2012) offers a good starting point for research on music diplomacy. Jonathan Rosenberg’s article,” America on the World Stage: music and Twentieth-Century U.S. Foreign Relations” offers a succinct overview of all the contributions. Jessica C.E. Gienow-Hecht writes how governments send symphonies abroad to perform the nation (“The World Is Ready to Listen: Symphony Orchestras and the Global Performance of America”). Danielle Fosler-Lussier writes about the relationships formed between American musicians and foreign audiences and artists in “Music Pushed, Music Pulled: Cultural Diplomacy, Globalization, and Imperialism.”

Penny von Eschen provides a detailed history of the United States State Department’s use of jazz diplomacy during the Cold War and the subversive wit of the performers who took part (“The Real Ambassadors,” in Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies, ed. Robert O’Meally [New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2004]: 189-203; “Duke Ellington Plays Baghdad: Rethinking Hard and Soft Power from the Outside In,” in Contested Democracy: Freedom, Race, and Power in American History [New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2007]: 279-300; and Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006]). Lisa E. Davenport provides supplemental information in Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2013). Stephen A. Crist focuses on Dave Brubeck’s Cold War tours in “Jazz as Democracy? Dave Brubeck and Cold War Politics,” Journal of Musicology 26, no. 2 (Spring 2009): 133–74 and Dave Brubeck’s Time Out (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2019).

Emily Abrams Ansari writes in “Shaping the Policies of Cold War Musical Diplomacy: An Epistemic Community of American Composers,” Diplomatic History 36, no. 1 (January 2012): 41–52 that the State Department’s Music Advisory Panel preferred to promote Americans who did not compose with serial techniques. Ansari develops this idea more in their book The Sound of a Superpower: Musical Americanism and the Cold War (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018).

Pamphlet found in Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy, vol. 36 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2015), 24.

Frederick J. Schenker, “Listening for Empire in Transnational Jazz Studies,” in The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies (New York, NY: Routledge, 2018), 231–38. Jairo Moreno points out that we often remember the musical consequences of such exchange but forget the imperialistic processes that caused such interactions to occur. See “Imperial Aurality: Jazz, the Archive, and U.S. Empire,” in Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique, ed. Ronald M. Radano and Tejumola Olaniyan (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016), 135–60.


When Bossa Traversed the Equator: The State Department, Jazz Musicians, Itamaraty, and Members of Brazil’s Political Right Send and Receive Brazilian Music

Cultural Exchange Pre-1945

[9] Brazil became a regional power in the aftermath of the Paraguayan War (1864-70) and abolished slavery in 1888; however, the country still needed to market themselves as respectable to the wider world. Brazil’s first concerted engagements in cultural diplomacy began at the turn of the twentieth century. Brazilian elites initially hoped to solve two problems that they felt undermined their image abroad. First, they wanted to fix their cramped and disease-spreading capital, Rio de Janeiro. Secondly, they prejudicially feared that too many individuals of African descent lived in Brazil and consequently wanted to limit the numbers and powers of Brazil’s black population.          Elites turned to France to solve the first problem. Brazilian musicians in Rio de Janeiro were already imitating French music at the turn of the century.          By 1902 Brazilian elites had begun to look to Paris to imitate Baron Hausmann’s nineteenth century urban planning policies as well. The government demolished tenements to construct wider boulevards in the city center. They also erected stately new buildings, notably the Biblioteca Nacional and the Teatro Municipal which was inspired by the Paris Opera.          Brazilian elites also began to implement a unique form of scientific racism to solve their second “problem.” This racist doctrine, known in Brazil as branqueamento, encouraged miscegenation and race mixture to whiten their demographics so that Brazilian society appeared more acceptable and civilized to the white world. The country also enforced an exclusionary immigration policy that denied entry to individuals from African – and to a lesser extent Asian – countries while encouraging those from European countries. However, the Brazilian government did not solely implement domestic reforms like urban renewal and branqueamento to improve their image abroad.

[10] By the 1930s, the Brazilian government, under president Getúlio Vargas, began to market itself through the promotion of various national musics.          On the one hand, Vargas’ Brazil was represented by classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose music American audiences heard at New York’s World Fair concerts in 1939.          At the same time, Vargas’ Brazil was represented by brasilidade (Brazilianness), an idea that national identity transcended differences of class, race, and region.          Samba music and Carmen Miranda, who incorporated Afro-Brazilian and popular culture into the nation’s image, best spearheaded this idea.          Miranda rose to stardom in the 1930s: a decade in which she recorded close to 281 songs – half of them sambas – and starred in several films, most notably Banana da terra (1938). Set in Bahia (in the Northeast of Brazil), Banana da terra codified Miranda’s on-screen persona as an actress who took the basics of Afro-Bahian dress but added unrealistic and exotic touches: strings of beads, an exposed waistline, and elaborate hats piled with fruit. Her popularity as a singer and actress in Brazil ultimately led her to the United States. There, she represented not only Brazilian culture but also the possibilities of cultural exchange under President Franklin Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy. She starred in several popular American films, most famously Down Argentine Way (1940), which increased her recognition. However, it also made her more susceptible to Brazilian criticism. Several Brazilians felt her films often portrayed her as a songstress who never spoke proper English and who exoticized Afro-Bahian culture. In response, Miranda recorded “Disseram que voltei americanizada,” in which she sang “they say I’ve come back Americanized … [but] I was born with samba… I say ‘Brazil, eu te amo’ and never “I love you.’”

[11] In some ways, Vargas’s public diplomacy campaign backfired since several Brazilians felt that by interacting with the United States, Brazilian culture and politics were being “Americanized.” Around the same time Miranda was recording “Disseram que voltei americanizada,” the United States was engaging in a series of covert diplomatic actions to oust Vargas.          Vargas became president in 1930 after a bloodless military coup deposed Júlio Prestes before he could assume office. In 1934, Vargas won a second election, and the Brazilian government installed a constitution that stipulated that no president could serve two terms in a row. Historians call his dictatorial period from 1937-1945 the “Estado Novo.” During the Estado Novo period, he gained the support of the United States, largely because he sent a Brazilian Expeditionary Force to fight alongside the Allies in Europe during World War II. Several members of the Brazilian military, including future diplomat Juracy Magalhães, also received military training in the United States.

[12] Although Vargas and the United States government maintained a cordial relationship during World War II, their alliance soured as Vargas increasingly tried to distance himself from American influence. Vargas’ sympathies also lay with Brazil’s working class. This, in part, explains the rationale for championing Carmen Miranda and samba as exemplars of Brazilian culture. His Estado Novo promoted economic nationalism, much to the chagrin of the United States and American companies. Historians debate the extent to which the United States, with the help of America’s ambassador to Brazil, helped oust Vargas in 1945. However, whether thanks to American intervention or not, Vargas could no longer secure power after World War II. He did, however, manage to reclaim it in 1951, running (legally) for president on a similarly protectionist and nationalistic platform. He founded Petrobras, Brazil’s semi-public petroleum company, in 1953 and adopted the popular and evocative slogan, “o petróleo é nosso” (“the oil is ours”).

[13] Two years after Vargas’ second term ended in 1954, Juscelino Kubitschek assumed the presidency and implemented an economic policy that opened Brazil up to much more foreign investment. Kubitschek – under his famous motto “fifty years progress in five” – vowed to modernize Brazil at an unprecedented rate. His main accomplishment continued the urban planning reforms Brazil had introduced at the turn of the century. In this vision, Kubitschek constructed Brasília, the city in the interior of Brazil that would take over Rio de Janeiro as the capital of the country. He hired urban planner Lucio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer to build the city from scratch. Brasília soon became a shrine of modernist architecture and a modernized Brazil.

[13] It was during this period that bossa nova developed. Composers and lyricists Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes composed Sinfonia da Alvorada in 1960 to commemorate the inauguration of Brasília. However, their symphony did not resemble the style of bossa nova music developed by figureheads such as João Gilberto, Carlos Lyra, and Sérgio Ricardo. Jobim and de Moraes’ song, “Água de beber,” in contrast, did. One day, the duo was walking by Catetinho, Kubitschek’s first official residence in Brasília, when they came across a nearby stream. They asked one of Kubitschek’s guards: “what kind of water am I hearing?” (“Mas que barulho de água é esse aqui?”). The guard responded: “this is water to drink, buddy” (“É aqui que tem água de beber, camará”). Their song, “Água de beber,” inspired by this moment, would later become a bossa nova standard.

[14] The role that Vinícius de Moraes played in the composition of bossa nova songs like “Água de beber” attests to the importance of Itamaraty officials in creating, not just disseminating, Brazilian music. For instance, four years before vice-consul Dona Dora Vasconcellos was making sure the 1962 Carnegie Hall concert would run smoothly, she was writing lyrics for Heitor Villa-Lobos. She met Villa-Lobos in New York in 1952 and – already establishing herself as an author who would publish three books in her lifetime – wrote the lyrics for his suite from 1958, “A Floresta do Amazonas."          Several other diplomats engaged in the process of creating bossa nova music as well. In 1958, for instance, Festa Records recorded Elizeth Cardoso’s Canção do amor demais, one of the first albums to feature the music and playing of João Gilberto and the compositions of Antônio Carlos Jobim and diplomat-lyricist Vinícius de Moraes. Festa’s owner, Irineu Garcia, created this small record label in 1955 as a way to mix business with his love of foreign travel and interest in poetry. Given his interests, Garcia’s friends not only included Mário Dias Costa, the leader of Itamaraty’s Department of Cultural Diffusion, but a host of other artistically minded diplomats. Festa Records consequently produced low-cost 10-inch EPs that featured some of the best Brazilian poets. These poets were not only Garcia’s friends but also Itamaraty officials – people like Vinícius de Moraes, one of the founders of bossa nova and its most important lyricist. De Moraes was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1913 and graduated with a degree in law from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. He also began to write and publish poetry during this time. He worked for the Ministry of Education and Health after graduation and later received a scholarship to Oxford University to study English. He passed the test to work as a foreign service officer for Itamaraty in 1943 and was initially stationed in Los Angeles as vice-consul – but moved throughout Paris, Rome, and Montevideo during the 1950s. His background as both a poet and a well-traveled man made him perfect for Festa’s poetry series. He recorded an album of poetry in 1955 and was featured in several compilations, among them Moderna poesia brasileira and Poema de Natal, both from 1956. But Garcia broadened Festa’s scope in 1958 and decided to record music as well. De Moraes had been writing lyrics for Jobim’s compositions since 1956 and Garcia figured the music of Jobim and de Moraes – who already had been a feature in Festa’s catalogue – would suit the label’s brand just well.          The result, Canção do amor demais, featured an already well-established Elizeth Cardoso singing new songs by Jobim and de Moraes like “Chega de saudade.” She was accompanied by João Gilberto on the guitar. However, Gilberto did not particularly like the album. Cardoso, influenced by a long history of operatic singers, sang with full-chested bravado. Gilberto preferred a different tradition and developed a reputation for mimicking the subtle approach of crooners like Rudy Vallée and Bing Crosby.           The public did not find Cardoso’s album compelling, either. Instead, critics and audiences ultimately preferred a version from João Gilberto’s album, Chega de saudade, which he recorded a year later.          Nevertheless, in addition to “Chega de saudade,” de Moraes would also write lyrics to several notable bossa nova songs – among them, “Amor em paz,” “Água de beber,” and the famous “Garota de Ipanema.”

[15] While Itamaraty officials were helping to develop bossa nova within Brazil in the late 1950s, several Brazilian disc jockeys, among them Paulo Santos, were helping spread it abroad. In 1960, Felix Grant’s program on WMAL, “The Album Show,” caught the attention of Dr. João Oliveira Santos, an economist who would later become head of the International Coffee Organization. Ever since he heard Luiz Bonfá’s music in 1957, Grant’s program contained several Brazilian albums and songs. This appealed to Santos, who, in 1960, consequently introduced Grant to his brother, Paulo Santos, a Rio de Janeiro-based radio host of “Em tempo de jazz.” Paulo Santos was visiting the U.S. capital after attending the Newport Jazz Festival and so the doctor got them in touch with one another. The two disc jockeys went to lunch, accompanied by a translator, and immediately hit it off. Grant even invited Santos to come onto his radio show that evening to play whatever he liked once he learned that the Brazilian had travelled to the United States with a couple of Brazilian records. That night, Grant heard João Gilberto for the first time. “I said good God,” recalled the American disc jockey,” I was just wiped out.” Santos left the studio and gave Grant about a half dozen records of Brazilian artists, among them João Gilberto. Grant consequently began to include Gilberto into his Brazilian rotation that, until then, only included Luiz Bonfá, Maysa Matarazzo, and some others. Santos returned to Brazil and wrote to Grant, informing the American that he was sending him some additional Brazilian albums through an intermediary at the Pan American Union (later called the Organization of American States). Grant could pick them up easily, Santos reassured Grant. The Pan American Union building was right off the National Mall and close to Grant’s office at WMAL’s studios.

[17] Santos also solicited the assistance of Grant. The Brazilian had just been hired by Radio Globo to host “Jazz stereo pelo ar” on both AM and FM radio. However, Santos possessed very few stereophonic records. So, he asked Grant to mail some his way through their intermediary who “can send them to me without trouble.” Thanks to Santos, who wrote about Grant in magazines like Radiolândio and Música e disco, word about Grant spread throughout Brazil. Grant subsequently visited Brazil at least once in the early 1960s. In 1961, he met musicians Leny Andrade, João Gilberto, and Sérgio Mendes.          Mendes later wrote to Grant inquiring about how to get into the Berklee College of Music.


[18] While Brazilian and American disc jockeys were facilitating cultural exchange, several local Brazilian musicians were explaining bossa nova to touring American musicians. On March 27, 1961, the Charlie Byrd Trio played a concert at the Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Sul under the auspices of the U.S. State Department’s Jazz Ambassadors tours. Brazilian newspapers published the trio’s set-lists in advance which suggested audiences would have heard an eclectic mix of classical and jazz. The first set included some originals by Charlie Byrd (“Blues for Night People”), some jazz standards (“This Can’t Be Love” and “Satin Doll”) as well as selections to show off Byrd’s ability on the acoustic guitar – “Nuages” by Django Reinhardt, “Prelude and Allemande” by J.S. Bach, “Allegretto, Minuet, and Sonata” by Niccolò Paganini and “Etude 11” by Brazil’s own Heitor Villa-Lobos. Whether they changed their set-list at the last minute, or imbued these songs with Latin rhythms, Buddy Deppenschmidt, the trio’s drummer, later recalled that the group incorporated rhumbas and cha-cha-chás into most of their repertoire – a statement that somewhat contradicts the non-Latin repertoire on their printed set-list.          He also believed the presence of Latin rhythms at the concert influenced Malu Pederneiras, an audience member, to approach him afterwards and ask if he wanted to come over the next day and learn how to play bossa nova on the drum set. “Probably when she heard me playing Latin rhythms on drums,” speculated Deppenschmidt, she thought, “we should show you how to play the new stuff. Come on over to the house tomorrow, bring your brushes and your sticks, and we’ll show you how to play it.” Whatever she was thinking at the time, Pederneiras approached Deppenschdmit, told him that her boyfriend played drums and guitar, and offered to give Deppenschmidt a master class. The next day Deppenschmidt appeared at Pederneiras’ house. Her entire family was also there. Her father had even taken the day off. It was a big event and Deppenschmidt spent about two hours playing with the family. However, this was not Deppenschmidt’s first exposure to bossa nova. The trio were in the midst of a two-month U.S. State Department tour that took them through multiple Brazilian cities for two weeks. Earlier in their tour, after a show in Salvador, Bahia, judge Carlos Coqueijo Costa invited the entire trio to his house and played some music on the record player. Deppenschmidt recalled that it was the first time he ever heard João Gilberto or Antônio Carlos Jobim records. The judge’s son was also a drummer and he demonstrated how to play bossa nova music by putting a cardboard album jacket between his knees and playing along with brushes.          Such interactions were not unusual on State Department tours. When the University of Michigan Jazz Band toured Latin America in 1965, they interacted with audience members in a similar way.          These interactions proved transformative as well. The next day, Deppenschmidt and bassist Keter Betts went out and bought Gilberto’s two records, Chega de saudade and O amor, O sorriso e a flor. The two of them spent the rest of their tour rehearsing in hotel rooms.

[19Interactions like those between the Charlie Byrd Trio and Malu Pederneiras and Judge Costa occurred regularly during their two-week tour throughout Bahía, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Curitíba, Fortaleza, Recife, Belo Horizonte and Belém.          “There were many occasions where I would stay up all night with someone, a drummer, who couldn’t speak a word of English and I didn’t speak Spanish or Portuguese,” recalled Deppenschmidt. “We would turn a trash basket upside down and then turn the ice bucket upside down. He would show me rhythms and I would show him jazz rhythms. So, it was really a cultural exchange tour, for sure.” Officially, the trio was expected to attend formal State Department functions instead of participating in these informal interactions.          However, that arrangement did not appeal to Deppenschmidt. The U.S. State Department banquets and dinners “got boring pretty fast,” according to the drummer. “I mean, the cocktail parties went on forever. Eventually, I just started bowing out."                   Deppenschmidt, Byrd, and Betts returned to the United States in late May 1961. Almost immediately, Deppenschmidt convinced Verve producer Creed Taylor to record a bossa nova album with Stan Getz. The drummer’s efforts culminated in Jazz Samba, an album which went on to sell a million copies and, by most accounts, started the bossa nova craze that captivated American audiences in the summer of 1962.

[19However, American musicians did not rely solely on the government to engage in cultural exchange. Several went to Brazil and were funded by various American and Brazilian private enterprises. In July 1961, Chris Connor, Kenny Dorham, Curtis Fuller, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Coleman Hawkins, Herbie Mann, Jo Jones, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and Dave Bailey played at a multi-day festival that took place in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. This tour, billed as the American Jazz Festival, relied on several American and Brazilian organizers. Manager Monte Kay helped secure the musicians, while Willis Conover – the individual whose “Voice of America Jazz Hour” broadcasted jazz to listeners behind the Iron Curtain for more than forty years – emceed the concerts. Once again, Brazilian disc jockeys played a major role in the dissemination of bossa nova. DJs such as Estevão Hermann and Sylvio Tullio Cardoso helped organize the festival while the local clothing company Renner and the media conglomerate Emissoras Associadas helped sponsor the concerts.          The festival lasted several days and took place in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. One show even occurred at the Teatro Municipal, a building constructed in the early twentieth century as one of the Brazilian government’s first attempts to demonstrate their cultural prowess to the world.

[20These artists found several opportunities to collaborate and perform with local musicians over the course of the festival. Journalist José Domingos Raffaelli recalled such encounters in his liner notes to the album, Jazz no Municipal, a live recording of the Teatro Municipal concert. In one of these “after hours” sessions, he recalled that “the drummer Turquinho joined Tommy Flanagan and Ben Tucker; on another occasion was Luís Chaves who played with the Americans.” Dave Bailey expressed interest in learning Brazilian rhythms and asked the drummer Elisha to demonstrate an authentic samba, which was “done under general applause of the spectators of the club Fanney’s.” On another night, Dizzy Gillespie sat in one of the jam sessions as a pianist and was also playing with musicians from São Paulo.          Most of these American musicians came back to the United States after the American Jazz Festival and recorded several famous bossa nova albums. On April 1, 1963, Kenny Dorham – who later penned the famous jazz standard, “Blue Bossa” – recorded his Blue Note album Una Mas with Joe Henderson, Tony Williams, and Herbie Hancock. The title track was originally titled “My Injun from Brazil."          Coleman Hawkins also returned to the United States influenced by what he heard in Brazil. He hired American Jazz Festival alumnus Tommy Flanagan for his Impulse! recording session that took place on September 12 and 17, 1962. The resulting album, Desafinado, received good reviews. However, the main draw was hearing Flanagan not behind the piano, his primary instrument, but instead playing claves! Al Cohn and Zoot Sims came back and recorded one of the most commercially minded bossa nova albums, New Beat Bossa Nova Means the Samba Swings. Colpix Records included a coupon for a free dance lesson at any Fred Astaire studio in the record jacket. The label and dance studio were trying to fabricate a bossa nova dance craze. The irony is that Brazilians themselves never danced anything called “the bossa nova.”

[21Although they had financial and creative incentives for introducing American musicians and audiences to bossa nova, these Brazilian disk jockeys, companies, and governmental officials all endorsed the idea that bossa nova music reflected positively upon Brazilian culture. They felt that bossa nova’s aesthetics, the presence of bossa nova’s diplomat-artist practitioners, and bossa nova’s popularity internationally would help legitimize their country in the eyes of the world. Antônio Carlos Jobim linked bossa nova with Brazil’s foreign policy goals when he gave an interview to O Globo shortly before he flew to New York to play at Carnegie Hall. In a comment that alluded to how he wanted to distance himself from the cultural diplomacy practiced by Getúlio Vargas and Carmen Miranda in the 1930s and 1940s, Jobim promised that “we will no longer try to sell the exotic aspect of coffee and carnival. We will not use the typical themes of underdevelopment. We’re going to move from an agricultural phase to an industrial one."           Diplomats at the Carnegie Hall concert likewise endorsed bossa nova to sell Brazil as a modern, refined, industrialized country. They were initially disappointed. John S. Wilson, writing for the New York Times, reported that audience members at the Carnegie Hall concert could barely hear the performers on stage and that a poor sound system created “monotonous mush.” Even worse, some of the singers had “little to offer.” Later, Bill Coss, writing for DownBeat, called the concert a “supermarket presentation."          This news made the Brazilian press irate. An article in the Última Hora chastised Itamaraty for its “traditional incompetence."           Such criticisms forced Itamaraty to release a statement downplaying its role in organizing the concert. Dias Costa went on record saying Itamaraty was only responsible for selling tickets and providing accommodations for Brazilian musicians. However, Brazilian criticism eventually eased. Shortly after the concert, vice-consul Dona Dora Vasconcellos approached Art D’Lugoff, owner of the Village Gate, and asked if he would be willing to “present the Brazilian musicians in a realistic way so that the American audience could make some judgment about the music.” The Village Gate performance, on December 3, not only presented several of the Carnegie Hall performers “realistically” but made up for the concert entirely. According to columnists Jack Maher and John S. Wilson, Sérgio Mendes, João Gilberto, Luiz Bonfá, Sérgio Ricardo, Roberto Menescal, and Carlos Lyra gave a “near-perfect performance” and made a “solid impression."           Tensions also eased once Brazilians heard Sidney Frey’s concert album, Bossa Nova at Carnegie Hall, and saw CBS’ Eyewitness coverage. Both presented more receptive accounts of audience members than what Brazilians read in the local press or heard from New York Times coverage.

[22However, Brazilians, and Itamaraty specifically, did not spread bossa nova solely to improve Brazil’s image; some Itamaraty officials like Roberto Campos and Juracy Magalhães also capitalized on bossa nova’s popularity in the United States to align themselves closer to the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and distance themselves from the Soviet Union. In December 1962, Roberto Campos, in his capacity as the Brazilian ambassador to the United States sent a letter to Felix Grant thanking the American disk jockey for his role in promoting bossa nova within the United States. Two years later, sometime in late autumn 1964, the new Brazilian ambassador to the United States, Juracy Magalhães, awarded Grant the National Order of the Southern Cross. An article in Billboard explained why, using Magalhães’ own words:

Felix Grant was one of the first, if not the pioneer publicizer [sic] of bossa nova in the United States. His genuine enthusiasm for this new style, and his widespread and effective campaign was actually responsible to a very great extent for the introduction, acceptance, and popularity of the bossa nova in an artistic milieu so richly endowed and creatively prolific as the one existing in the United States.

Kind words for the Washingtonian. President Getúlio Vargas established the order on December 5, 1932, as the highest honor the government could bestow on foreigners. Over the years, Brazilian presidents had awarded the Southern Cross to Nelson Rockefeller, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Emperor Hirohito of Japan, President Sukarno of Indonesia, Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie, and Che Guevara. Grant was thus amongst impressive company. Yet, looking at the political and economic moment in which Magalhães and Campos served as ambassadors suggests that there was something more at play than merely praising Grant. These were decisions that helped advance Brazilian’s right-wing interests and align the country closer to the United States.

Cold War Politics


[23] The endorsement of Felix Grant by Campos in December 1962 occurred during a tumultuous time in Brazilian politics. In 1961, Jânio Quadros was elected president as a member of the right-wing União Democrática Nacional (UDN). However, he only served for a couple of months. His presidency was briefly supported by Carlos Lacerda, an established party boss of the UDN, Brazil’s right-wing party that emerged after Vargas left office in 1945. However, Quadros did not necessarily share UDN’s pro-America, free-market, ideology that appealed to Brazil’s educated middle class. Quadros nevertheless won the presidency in 1961, but his foreign policies pursued closer relationships with Africa, the non-aligned movement, and even Cuba, China, and the Soviet Union. For example, much to the chagrin of UDN leadership, Quadros awarded Che Guevara the Order of the Southern Cross. Moves like this lost him support within his own party and he consequently resigned from the presidency. His term only lasted seven months. Then João Goulart took over. Goulart, like Quadros, sided with leftist positions. A rising member of the left-wing Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro (PTB), Goulart had been appointed by Vargas to act as Minister of Labor during the president’s second term between 1951 and 1954. Under Goulart’s tenure, Brazilian workers saw a 42% increase in the minimum wage. Goulart would also carry the PTB torch after Vargas committed suicide in 1954. The Brazilian people elected him vice-president in 1956 and again in 1961. However, Goulart served both terms under presidents who did not belong to the PTB due to a clause in the Brazilian constitution that required that Brazilians vote for vice-presidents and presidents separately. Instead, he served under presidents Juscelino Kubitschek (who belonged to the centrist minded Partido Social Democrático) and Jânio Quadros (UDN). When Quadros resigned, Goulart took over the presidency until the military ousted him in 1964.

[24] The United States government shaped this tumultuous political climate in their favor. The Instituto Brasileiro de Ação Democrática (IBAD), an American-backed conservative think tank, engaged in a massive campaign to influence the political coverage of A Noite, a prominent magazine based out of Rio de Janeiro. In 1961, the magazine, under the editorship of Mário Martins, took a relatively muted position towards Quadro’s resignation and Goulart’s succession. Martins did not agree with Goulart’s (or even Quadro’s) politics but thought Goulart’s succession had occurred legally and democratically. As a result, Carlos Lacerda, the prominent right-wing UDN politician who vehemently opposed Goulart and his left-wing PTB policies, tried to censure A Noite. Obviously, the relationship between Martins and Lacerda soured. However, by 1962 – thanks to IBAD money that they funneled through the magazine – A Noite endorsed not only several right- and centrist-leaning candidates from the UDN and PSD but even Lacerda himself. During this time, the United States distributed – via IBAD – between $1 and $5 million dollars to right-wing and centrist PSD and UDN candidates who opposed the Goulart government.          The Americans had good reason to be worried about Brazil’s powerful left. The Brazilian press – and even, surprisingly, conservatives like Carlos Lacerda – warmly received Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin when he visited Brazil in 1961. This cultural exchange, and the attractiveness of Soviet modernization, motivated president Goulart to strengthen Brazil’s relationship with the Soviet Union in November 1962.           The United States found this unacceptable. Goulart’s economic “Three Year Plan” ultimately failed once the United States government took a more hard-lined approach to Brazilian aid. Goulart had modeled his “Three Year Plan” on President Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress, an American attempt to distribute aid to solve Latin America’s structural causes of underdevelopment.           Goulart was trying to leverage his increasingly close relationship to the Soviet Union in order to receive more American aid. However, Kennedy’s officials could no longer tolerate Goulart’s bargaining and cut off their support at the end of 1962. The United States’ hardened stance also coincided with efforts to undermine Goulart and support the coup that deposed him on April 1, 1964.           Once the military rose to power, the Johnson administration congratulated the coup’s leader and next president, Marshal Humberto de Alencar Castello Branco, for preserving Brazilian democracy.

[25] During this moment in the early 1960s, Brazilian diplomat and economist Roberto Campos often aligned himself with the well-being of the United States at the same time he was promoting bossa nova abroad. Campos served on the U.S.-Brazil Joint Economic Commission in the early 1950s and later played a key role in developing President Kubitschek’s economic stabilization policy, although it was later aborted. Campos disagreed with Kubitschek’s massive industrialization policies because they led to inflation and instead urged the president to adopt the International Monetary Fund’s restrictive wage, credit, and fiscal policies. These policies did not appeal to ardent nationalists on the left who disparagingly called Campos “Bobby Fields” – an “Americanized” version of his name, Roberto Campos (Campo translating literally to “field” in Portuguese).          In 1961, UDN president Jânio Quadros appointed Campos to serve as the Brazilian Ambassador to the United States. Campos initially refused because Quadros’ presidency was in turmoil. However, João Goulart, Quadro’s successor, carried on Quadros’ wish and re-appointed Campos, perhaps in an effort to bridge the divide between the Quadros’ UDN and Goulart’s own PTB. Campos served as ambassador for three years but ultimately resigned in August 1963 due to his ideological disagreements with Goulart. However, during his time as ambassador, he wrote to Felix Grant and thanked him for his role in promoting bossa nova within the United States.

[26] Juracy Magalhães likewise sympathized with these attempts by the United States and Brazil’s right wing to undermine the Quadros and Goulart presidencies. His sympathies began in 1942 when he attended the Command and General Staff School in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While there, he was recruited to collect intelligence on the Vargas regime and undermine its nationalistic policies. Ironically, Vargas appointed Magalhães as the first president of Petrobras in 1953. By the late 1950s, he was a rising star of the right-wing UDN and once the Castello Branco dictatorship rose to power, Magalhães managed to get himself a position as the Brazilian ambassador to the United States.          It was then that he awarded Felix Grant the National Order of the Southern Cross.

[27] Journalists could not help link the political ideologies espoused by Magalhães and Campos to discussions of Brazilian music. José Ramos Tinhorão, for instance, mentioned Campos in a tirade against the tropicália movement. Tinhorão, an ardent nationalist, lamented that samba – Brazil’s national music during the 1930s – had strayed from its authentic roots in the morros (hills) of Rio de Janeiro’s Afro-Brazilian neighborhoods. Throughout the 1960s, Tinhorão, in his capacity as music critic for several Brazilian magazines and newspapers, instead championed what he believed were untainted popular rural genres: carimbó, baião, xaxado, and modas de viola. He also disparaged several Brazilian genres that suffered from similar tainting, notably bossa nova and tropicália. Bossa nova musicians, he believed, “Americanized” Brazilian popular music and created an “alienated” musical style that merged jazz, classical music, and Brazilian styles.          He levied similar critiques against tropicália, a movement that arose in the late 1960s which, in part, took from many different styles: Brazilian, non-Brazilian, and American alike. In 1991, in a revised edition of his book, Pequena história da música popular: da modinha à lambada, he brought up specific parallels between tropicália and the Castello Branco dictatorship. “Tropicálists,” Tinhorão wrote, “opened the way for the domination of international rock in the 1970s in university sectors” just like “the opening to foreign capital and know-how would lead the nation to financial and economic domination by the multinationals.” He also mentioned Roberto Campos by name. “Tropicálists,” Tinhorão wrote, “were only repeating the stage-burning policy proposed since 1964 by the Minister of Planning, Roberto Campos, who planned to absorb or liquidate the rudimentary structures of national production through foreign industries and technological packages.” Given the practitioners’ propensities to absorb foreign musical styles – often American – Tinhorão could have easily substituted “tropicálists” with “bossa nova musicians.” Although he levied quite unfair criticisms towards these two musical styles (a “pure, untainted” Brazilian musical style does not exist), he astutely recognized the relationship between the ideologies of the Castello Branco regime and certain musical styles like tropicália and bossa nova.

[28] Thanks to the actions of ambassadors like Roberto Campos and Juracy Magalhães, Itamaraty solidified its relations with the United States by promoting, exchanging, and recognizing those Americans who helped spread bossa nova domestically. The individuals who played a notable role in congratulating Americans like Felix Grant also played a notable role in Brazil’s most right-wing, militaristic, and dictatorial political parties. African, Asian, Eastern European, and South and Central American countries certainly countered American propaganda with their own ideas about cultural exchange. Itamaraty used bossa nova – just like their processes of branqueamento and urban renewal – in order to demonstrate to the world they possessed modern and refined culture. But at the same time, Brazil’s policies did not always run counter to America’s interests. Sometime during his tenure as ambassador, Juracy Magalhães made a famous declaration: “what is good for the United States is good for Brazil.” He would later clarify in his autobiography that this did not imply “an unconditional adherence to that country” since he believed the opposite was also true: what was good for Brazil was good for the United States.          However, Magalhães surely felt his support, promotion, and endorsement of bossa nova – in addition to several political and economic policies – helped create a symbiotic relationship between Brazil and the United States.


[29] The United States government likewise bought what Itamaraty, Campos, Magalhães, Renner, Emissoras Associadas, Varig, Brazilian disc jockeys, and local musicians were selling; even if the popularity of bossa nova in the United States did not influence the American government to behave in a certain way towards Brazil, bossa nova at the very least arose because of goodwill between the two countries. A final vignette from 1962 illuminates how bossa nova captured the interest of the American presidency during the Cold War.

[30] It was November 19, 1962. The East Room of the White House. Saxophonist Paul Winter and his sextet were performing a concert in front of their host, Jacqueline Kennedy, and about 200 children of ambassadors and chiefs of diplomatic missions and cabinet officials. The Kennedys had hosted four similar concerts before. However, the concerts usually featured classical music: in 1961, the first family hired the Transylvania Symphony Orchestra (who played a selection of overtures from different composers) and cellist Pablo Casals (who played Mendelssohn selections); the Winter Sextet even split their bill with Pianist Ton Il Han (who played Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz). However, this time the White House hired a jazz group – allegedly the first jazz group to perform in the White House. The Kennedys made a good choice. The Sextet, formed around Chicago and Northwestern University, won the 1961 Intercollegiate Jazz Festival. They even impressed judges Dizzy Gillespie and John Hammond so much that the two recommended the sextet participate in the same State Department tours that sent the Charlie Byrd Trio abroad in 1961. Between February 6 and July 13, 1962, the Paul Winter Sextet toured twenty countries in Central and South America. Their tour to Brazil specifically impacted the group. When they returned to the United States, they began recording Jazz Meets the Bossa Nova, which also included sessions recorded in Rio de Janeiro. They incorporated this new repertoire into their White House set to much acclaim. The first lady reported to Winter’s pianist, Warren Bernhardt, that their bossa nova selections (they played at least “Saudade da Bahia”) moved her – literally. “I had a hard time keeping still and staying dignified,” she confided. 

[31Writing about the arrival of bossa nova in September 1962, critic John S. Wilson astutely commented that “the American musicians who take jazz to all parts of the world are not engaged in one-way traffic. They also bring back to this country music that has caught their fancies on their travels."        While this depiction accurately captures the result of trips made by musicians like Paul Winter, Buddy Deppenschmidt, and Charlie Byrd, the history of bossa nova’s arrival to the United States contains as much “sending” as it does “bringing back.” During the 1960s, Brazilian musicians like Antônio Carlos Jobim hoped bossa nova would help depict Brazil as a modern, industrialized nation while Brazilian ambassadors such as Juracy Magalhães and Roberto Campos relied on bossa nova’s popularity within the United States to help align the Kennedy and Johnson governments with Brazil’s right-wing political parties. Thanks to the shuttling of recordings and musicians across national borders, bossa nova captivated American audiences throughout the 1960s.

Thomas Skidmore discusses such racial dynamics in Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1974).

Christina Magaldi writes extensively about the French and cosmopolitan influence on Brazilian music at the turn of the century (“Music for the Elite: Musical Societies in Imperial Rio de Janeiro,” Latin American Music Review 16, no. 1 [Spring - Summer 1995]: 1-41; Music in Imperial Rio de Janeiro: European Culture in a Tropical Milieu (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2004); “Cosmopolitanism and World Music in Rio de Janeiro at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” The Musical Quarterly 92, no. 3/4 (Fall - Winter 2009): 329-364; “Before and After Samba: Modernity, Cosmopolitanism, and Popular Music in Rio de Janeiro at the Beginning and End of the Twentieth Century,” in Postnational Musical Identities: Cultural Production, Distribution, and Consumption in a Globalized Scenario (Plymouth, UK: Lexington Books, 2010), 173-184.

Jeffrey D. Needell makes similar arguments but looks more broadly at architecture, literature, urban reform, and education in A Tropical Belle Epoque: Elite Culture and Society in Turn-of-the-Century Rio de Janeiro (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1987).

Anaïs Fléchet writes extensively about music and the Brazilian Foreign Ministry (“Por uma história transnacional dos festivais de música popular: música, contracultura e transferências culturais nas décadas de 1960 e 1970,” Patrimônio e Memória 7, no. 1 [June 2011]: 257-271; “As partituras da identidade: o Itamaraty e a música brasileira no século XX,” Escritos 5, no. 5 [2012]: 227-256; Juliette Dumon and Anaïs Fléchet, “Brazilian Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century,” Revista Brasileira de História 34, no. 67 [June 2014]: 1-19).

Villa-Lobos’ time in the United States is documenting in Carol A. Hess, Representing the Good Neighbor: Music, Difference, and the Pan American Dream (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2013).

Charles A. Perrone and Christopher Dunn, “‘Chiclete Com Banana’: Internationalization in Brazilian Popular Music,” in Brazilian Popular Music and Globalization (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2002), 1–38.

Bryan McCann’s Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004) focuses on samba and choro as symbols of unity during the Getúlio Vargas dictatorship. Daryle Williams’ Culture Wars in Brazil: The First Vargas Regime, 1930–1945 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001) offers a similar analysis of the period but includes visual art, historical preservation, museum management, and architecture within the analysis as well.

Historians and political scientists debate the extent to which the United States involved itself in the affairs of Brazil. Stanley E. Hilton presents a relatively rosy picture of Brazilian-American relations in the years leading up to World War II (“The Overthrow of Getúlio Vargas in 1945: Diplomatic Intervention, Defense of Democracy, or Political Retribution?” The Hispanic American Historical Review 67, no. 1 [February 1987]: 1-37; “Brazilian Diplomacy and the Washington-Rio de Janeiro ‘Axis’ during the World War II Era,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 59, no. 2 [May 1979]: 201-231; “The United States, Brazil, and the Cold War, 1945-1960: End of the Special Relationship,” The Journal of American History 68, no. 3 [December 1981]: 599-624; “Brazil’s International Economic Strategy, 1945-1960: Revival of the German Option,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 66, no. 2 [May 1986]: 287-318. Frank D. McCann, Jr. takes specific issue with Hilton’s history in “Critique of Stanley E. Hilton’s "Brazilian Diplomacy and the Washington-Rio de Janeiro’ Axis’ during the World War II Era,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 59, no. 4 (November 1979): 691-700. W. Michael Weis offers more evidence of American interference in Cold Warriors & Coups d’Etat: Brazilian-American, 1945-1964 (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1993).

The influence of American culture on Brazil features heavily in scholarship. Antonio Pedro Tota focuses on one-sided cultural exchange between Brazil and the United States in The Seduction of Brazil: The Americanization of Brazil during World War II, trans. Lorena B. Ellis (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2009).

Sheldon Maram documents the economic policies, industrialization, and massive spending that characterized the Kubitschek presidency of the 1950s in “Juscelino Kubitschek and the Politics of Exuberance, 1956-1961,” Luso-Brazilian Review 27, no. 1 (Summer 1990): 31-45 and “Juscelino Kubitschek and the 1960 Presidential Election,” Journal of Latin American Studies 24, no. 1 (February 1992): 123-145

Ana Paula Orlandi Mourão Delfim, “Literatura e música: a trajetória da gravadora Festa (1955-1971)” (São Paulo, Brazil, Universidade de São Paulo, 2018).

Allison McCracken, Real Men Don’t Sing: Crooning in American Culture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015). See also Vincent Stephens, “Crooning on the Fault Lines: Theorizing Jazz and Pop Vocal Singing Discourse in the Rock Era, 1955-1978,” American Music 26, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 156–95 and Keir Keightley, “Long Play: Adult Oriented Pop Music and the Temporal Logics of the Postwar Sound Recording Industry in the USA,” Media, Culture, and Society 26, no. 3 (2004): 375–91.

Castro, Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World, 125–28

Grant and DuPre, 1989 Interview with Bryant (Williams) DuPre.

Felix Grant and Leny Andrade, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1961, June 1, 1961, Photograph, 17 x 24 cm, June 1, 1961, b06f002-001, Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives,; João Gilberto and Felix Grant, Brazil, 1961, Photograph, 9 x 12 cm, 1961, b06f003-001, Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives,

Sérgio Mendes to Felix Grant, “Letter from Sergio Mendes to Felix Grant, August 22, 1961,” August 22, 1961, b07f006-001, Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives,

“Diário Artístico,” Diário de Pernambuco, March 16, 1961.

Keter Betts (The HistoryMakers A2003.110), interviewed by Julieanna L. Richardson, May 28, 2003, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 4, story 8, Keter Betts describes traveling to Brazil with Charlie Byrd and discovering the bossa nova.

Danielle Fosler-Lussier, “Cultural Diplomacy as Cultural Globalization: The University of Michigan Jazz Band in Latin America,” Journal of the Society for American Music 4, no. 1 (2010): 59–93.

Buddy Deppenschmidt, Another Side of Jazz Samba: An Interview with Buddy Deppenschmidt, interview by Chris McGowan, April 24, 2013,

Buddy Deppenschmidt, Another Side of Jazz Samba: An Interview with Buddy Deppenschmidt.

Rocha Irlam Lima, “Vinícius de Moraes e Tom Jobim criaram juntos poema sinfônico sobre Brasília,” Correio Braziliense, October 1, 2013,,390931/vinicius-de-moraes-e-tom-jobim-criaram-juntos-poema-sinfonico-sobre-brasilia.shtml.

Antonio Miranda, “Dora Vasconcellos,” Poesía de Ibero-América (blog), August 2016,

The promotion of such tours often stood in contrast to how jazz musicians actually understood their music. Darren Mueller’s “The Ambassadorial LPs of Dizzy Gillespie: World Statesman and Dizzy in Greece,” Journal of the Society for American Music 10, no. 3 (2016): 239-269 discusses the representation of the Jazz Ambassador tours in commercial record making and argues that the LPs of Gillespie in the 1950s were never meant to document the tours with veracity but instead presented an elevated vision of jazz.

Buddy Deppenschmidt, It’s “Jazz Samba” Time! Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Landmark Bossa Nova Album, December 28, 2015,

David R. Adler, “Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd: Give the Drummer Some,” Jazz Times, June 1, 2004,

“American Jazz Festival,” Correio da manhã, July 2, 1961; “American Jazz Festival,” Diário da noite, October 10, 1961; “American Jazz Festival,” Correio da manhã, July 16, 1961.

José Domingos Raffaelli, Jazz no Municipal (Rio de Janeiro: Imagem, 1961).

Special thanks to Ben Givan for sharing this information.

Jobim quoted in “Memorandum de Lauro Escorel de Moraes Ao Chefe Do Departamento de Administração. ‘Semana Brasileira Em Nova York,’” November 13, 1962, 3/11/1962.DDC/DCinf/161/540.31, Sistema Eletrônico do Serviço de Informação ao Cidadão (e-SIC) which is cited in Daniel Cunha Rego, “O Papel da Bossa Nova na Política Externa brasileira (1958 - 1964),” Revista Textos Graduados 1, no. 6 (January 2020): 242.

Bill Coss, “Caught in The Act: Bossa Nova Revisited,” DownBeat, January 17, 1963, 42.

Última Hora cited in Rego, “O Papel da Bossa Nova na Política Externa brasileira (1958 - 1964),” 243.

Jack Maher, “Bossa as Bossa Should Be,” Billboard, December 15, 1962, 16; John S. Wilson, “Brazil Sponsors Village Concert,” New York Times, December 4, 1962, 47.

Magalhães quoted in “WMAL’s Grant Honored for Championing Bossa Nova,” Billboard, November 6, 1965, 52.

Thomas E. Skidmore’s Brazil: Five Centuries of Change (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999) offers a comprehensive overview of Brazilian politics and society.

Pedro Henrique R. Magri, “A Interferência Norte-Americana na Política Interna Brasileira: O Caso do Jornal ‘A Noite,’” Revista Mosaico 9, no. 2 (December 2016): 267–78.

Gianfranco Caterina, “Gagarin in Brazil: Reassessing the Terms of the Cold War Domestic Political Debate in 1961,” Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional 63, no. 1 (2020): 1–16.

Information on President Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress can be found in John DeWitt’s “The Alliance for Progress: Economic Warfare in Brazil (1962-1964),” Journal of Third World Studies 26, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 57-76, Andrew J. Kirkendall’s “Kennedy Men and the Fate of the Alliance for Progress in LBJ Era Brazil and Chile,” Diplomacy and Statecraft 18, no. 4 (2007): 745-772, and Tony Smith’s “Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress, 1961–1965,” in America’s Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996): 214-236. W. Michael Weis describes the attempts to create an Alliance for Progress with Brazil’s increasingly non-aligned governments of Quadros and Goulart in “The Twilight of Pan-Americanism: The Alliance for Progress, Neo-Colonialism, and Non-Alignment in Brazil, 1961–1964,” The International History Review 23, no. 2 (2001): 322-344.

Jordan M. Young provides a snapshot of Brazil’s contentious political situation immediately before the coup in “The Brazilian Congressional Elections,” Journal of Inter-American Studies 5, no. 1 (1963): 123-132.

Stephen G. Rabe places the United States’ role in facilitating the 1964 coup within larger histories of United States involvement in Latin America in The Killing Zone: The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012) and The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999). James N. Green writes about a small group of academics, clergy, and Brazilian exiles in the United States who protested the military junta in We Cannot Remain Silent: Opposition to the Brazilian Military Dictatorship in the United States (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010).

Thomas E. Skidmore provides information about relationship between the Castelo Branco regime and Roberto Campos in “The Years between the Harvests: The Economics of the Castelo Branco Presidency, 1964-1967,” Luso-Brazilian Review 15, no. 2 (Winter 1978) and The Politics of Military Rule in Brazil, 1964-85 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1989). The Fundação Getúlio Vargas also offers comprehensive information about Campos and Goulart online (“Roberto Campos,” A Trajetória Política de João Goulart (blog), accessed June 20, 2020,

Felipe Pereira Loureiro describes how such efforts failed in “The Alliance for or Against Progress? US—Brazilian Financial Relations in the Early 1960s,” Journal of Latin American Studies 46, no. 2 (May 2014): 323-351 and “The Alliance for Progress and President João Goulart’s Three-Year Plan: The Deterioration of U.S.-Brazilian Relations in Cold War Brazil (1962),” Cold War History 17, no. 1 (2017): 61-79.

Manoel Reinaldo Silva Rêgo writes about Magalhães in “A trajetória de Juracy Magalhães Na Ditadura: entre suas memórias e a história” (XXIX De História Nacional Simpósio, Brasília, n.d.): 1-10. Paulo Romeu Braga documents Magalhães experience with the American military in Fort Leavenworth and his collaboration with Ambassador Adolf Berle to undermine the Vargas presidency in “Os interesses econômicos dos Estados Unidos e a segurança interna no Brasil entre 1946 e 1964: uma análise sobre os limites entre diplomacia coercitiva e operações encobertas,” Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional 45, no. 2 (2002): 46-65.

Felix Grant and Brazilian Ambassador Juracy Magalhães Hold the Order of the Southern Cross at the Brazilian Embassy, Washington, D.C., 1964, January 1, 1964, Photograph, 20 x 25 cm, January 1, 1964, b06f009-001, Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives,; The Felix E. Grant archives catalogued this photo as having been taken on January 1, 1964. However, Magalhães was not appointed Ambassador to Brazil until after the April 1, 1964, coup. Magalhães probably gave Grant the award sometime in November, since a Diário Oficial da União publication, the official journal of the Brazilian federal government, mentioned Grant’s award in their November 12, 1964 publication. See “Página 21 Da Seção 1 Do Diário Oficial da União (DOU) de 12 de Novembro de 1964” (Diário Oficial da União, November 12, 1964), Jusbrasil,

Jason Borge notes how jazz emerged as samba’s kindred foil during the 1940s and 1950s in “Jazz and the Great Samba Debate, and Vice Versa,” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 25, no. 3 (2016): 361-378 and Tropical Riffs: Latin America & the Politics of Jazz (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018). Contributors in journals such as Diretrizes and Revista de Música Popular tended to equate postwar bebop and big band with the venality of the American recording industry. Bossa nova’s relationship to American jazz made it vulnerable to such attacks as well. Sean Stroud also documents the musical debates occurring within Brazil in The Defence of Tradition in Brazilian Popular Music: Politics, Culture, and the Creation of Música Popular Brasileira (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008). Eduardo Vicente offers a similar summation in “Bossa Nova and Beyond: Jazz as Symbol of Brazilian-Ness,” in The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies, ed. Nicholas Gebhardt, Nichole Rustin-Paschal, and Tony Whyton, trans. Daniel Gambaro (New York, NY: Routledge, 2018), 293–302.

José Ramos Tinhorão, Pequena história da música popular: Da modinha à lambada, 6th revised ed (São Paulo, Brazil: Art Editora, 1991), 265–66 quoted in Charles A. Perrone, “Nationalism, Dissension, and Politics in Contemporary Brazilian Popular Music,” Luso-Brazilian Review 39, no. 1 (Summer 2002): 71.

Juracy Magalhães, Minha Experiência Diplomática (Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1971) quoted in Stanley E. Hilton, “The United States, Brazil, and the Cold War, 1945-1960: End of the Special Relationship,” 198.

Various Artists, The Kennedy White House Concerts, CD, vol. MM115 (Museum Music, n.d.); Tony Gieske, “Mrs. Kennedy Beams Approval of Jazz Debut in White House,” Washington Post, November 20, 1962.

John S. Wilson, “Brazil’s Bossa Nova Spreading: Variant of Samba Is Picked Up on Tours ...,” New York Times, September 27, 1962, 32.

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