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Chapter 3

[1] On November 20, 1962, Antônio Carlos Jobim stepped off his Pan-American Airlines (Pan Am) 202 flight and into the terminal of New York’s Idlewild Airport. He had just arrived from his hometown of Rio de Janeiro and, armed with his B-1 visa, passed through customs on his way to the Hotel Diplomat in Midtown Manhattan. The next day, he would go to Carnegie Hall to perform bossa nova alongside several other Brazilian bossa nova innovators. Together, both shows comprised what was colloquially called the Bossa Nova Festival within the United States. A few days later, many of them would perform again in Lisner Auditorium in Washington D.C. Jobim was one of the last performers to arrive to the United States for the event. Luiz Bonfá had flown in from France on the 15th. On the 17th, Chico Feitosa and Roberto Menescal came in together on the Varig Airlines 854 flight from Rio’s Galeão International Airport. Sérgio Mendes also arrived the same day. Like Jobim, he took the PAA 202 flight from Galeão to Idlewild. João Gilberto arrived via the Varig flight on the 19th. All would go onto perform a concert at Carnegie Hall on November 21, 1962. All would be staying at the Hotel Diplomat. Almost all would be visiting the United States with a B-1 visa.

State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967,

[2] The B-1 non-immigrant visa: one of the instruments – along with pianos, guitars, vocals, and a rich history of cultural diplomacy between Brazil and the United States – that musicians such as Jobim, Bonfá, Feitosa, Menescal, Mendes, and Gilberto possessed to help them perform in the United States during the 1960s. The B-1 visa was only about a decade old, having been established under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA), the law that governed all aspects of immigration and naturalization until 1965. The INA of 1952 allowed for non-immigrants, holding residences in foreign countries which they had no intention of abandoning, to temporarily visit the United States for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). To be clear, though: despite allowing temporary visitors to visit for “business” reasons, holders of B-1 visas were not eligible to work inside the country. The INA specifically stated that “B” non-immigrants could not perform “skilled or unskilled labor” (Section 201, 15[b]). This language understandably led to some confusion throughout the 1950s and 1960s as the United States courts struggled to define how a B-1 visa-holder could visit the country “for business reasons” yet simultaneously not perform skilled or unskilled labor (11 I&N Dec. 824 [(B.I.A. 1966]). However, in time, a consensus emerged amongst foreign affairs officers that the visa typically allowed (and still allows) for visitors to consult with business associates, attend a conference, negotiate a contract, and conduct other business-related activities that are incidental to work performed – and payment received – outside of the United States. That would be the kind of business that holders of a B-1 visa would be able to conduct. Performing music was, generally, not approved.

[3] Thus, strictly speaking, while the B-1 visa allowed entry into the United States, Jobim and his colleagues could not be paid. Well, not be paid by Carnegie Hall or any of the concerts’ domestic sponsors. Today at least, foreign officers tend to grant B-1 visas for touring and compensated artists if they are coming to the United States to participate in a cultural exchange program, if they play before a non-paying audience, and most importantly, if the sponsoring government pays all expenses, including compensation.          Several of these criteria applied to the Bossa Nova Festival of 1962. It was, essentially, a concert series under the auspices of cultural exchange. Mário Dias Costa, head of the Cultural Division at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, helped sponsor the concert and secured governmental funds to pay for some of the flights; Varig, a Brazilian airline company, and Emissoras Associadas, a Brazilian media conglomerate, paid for some of the others. Additionally, Costa, as well as Dona Dora Vasconcellos, the Brazilian vice-consul in New York, attended the concert. Given the nature of the performance and the musicians’ visa status, Jobim and his colleagues could not be paid domestically. However, they could be paid by the Brazilian government. Except, they never were, at least not immediately. Jobim’s friend and colleague Gene Lees reported that, as of May 1963, Jobim still had not been paid for his performances at Carnegie Hall or Lisner Auditorium. While their B-1 visas granted them access to the United States and one of the most renowned performance spaces in the world, its work restrictions did not make the trip a stress-free or profitable endeavor.


[4] Although the B-1 visa did not allow for these Brazilian musicians to be paid by American firms or work independently of cultural exchange programs, several seemingly were and did. In fact, since the Brazilian government did not immediately pay him for his two performances during the Bossa Nova Festival, Jobim reportedly had to wait for the money from a Verve Records recording date with saxophonist Stan Getz before he could buy plane tickets home for himself and his wife.          That recording date was probably one that occurred in March when both João Gilberto and Jobim stepped into A&R Studios to record the GRAMMY-winning album, Getz/Gilberto. They were coincidentally accompanied by not only Getz but a few more Brazilians: Gilberto’s wife, Astrud Gilberto, drummer Milton Banana, and bassist Sebastião Neto. By 1964, Jobim, both Gilbertos, and several other Brazilian musicians had established themselves as regular recorders and performers in the United States. They played at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Showboat Lounge in Washington D.C., and London House in Chicago. They appeared on the Dinah Shore Show, Steve Allen Playhouse, the Andy Williams Show, and the Frank Sinatra special, A Man and his Music. And they recorded albums at RCA, Atlantic, and Van Gelder Studios in the larger New York City area. Some even became citizens. Sérgio Mendes, who had arrived on a B-1 visa in 1962 applied for citizenship in 1964. Whatever immigration barrier they faced, Brazilian bossa nova musicians seemed to, for the most part, overcome them.


[5] A letter Jobim wrote to his collaborator and friend, Vinícius de Moraes, in February 1963 highlights the specific hurdles they had to navigate. The immigration office and the American Federation of Musicians, specifically, presented barriers. When Jobim wrote his letter, bossa nova was already a hit amongst American audiences. In general, despite some programming and audio hick-ups at Carnegie Hall, the Bossa Nova Festival was a success. Bossa nova was inundating audiences thanks to recordings by musicians such as saxophonist Stan Getz, whose album Jazz Samba excited listeners across the country. Listeners already loved bossa nova by the time the Carnegie Hall concert took place. Now they could hear the Brazilian innovators live. As a result of this notoriety, Jobim mentioned in his letter to de Moraes how he was approached by an unnamed American record label (probably Verve) who asked him to record albums and write arrangements for them. He had a problem, though: he could not work until he possessed permanent residency and a union card. However, he had some good news. “I’m with my papers,” he reassured de Moraes, “[and] I’m trying to obtain a permanent visa through the Department of Justice and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The visa is all I need to join the union."          Jobim’s recording history suggests he did not encounter too much trouble, however. A few days after he wrote a letter to de Moraes discussing his desire to obtain a work visa, he, along with fellow Brazilian Luiz Bonfá, walked into Webster Hall to record a follow-up to Getz’s renowned recording, Jazz Samba Encore!

[6] The details of the INA of 1952 favored Jobim and many of his colleagues. Simply put, Jobim and his colleagues were born in the right place at the right time. American immigration law has historically always tended to discourage immigration from somewhere.          Laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Immigration Acts of 1917, 1924, and 1952 imposed literacy tests and barred or severely restricted immigration from Asian countries. Worried about the effects immigrants might have on the nation, the government imposed worldwide quotas specifically designed to curb the number of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe.          Other laws, like the Alien Contract Act of 1885, set out to prohibit individuals within the United States from contracting with foreign workers, pre-paying or assisting their arrival, or hiring them to work domestically.          The 1885 Act, however, made an exception for “artists.” Consequently, musicians initially were exempt from this rule. As a result, many foreign musicians from Asia, South and Eastern Europe, and other “undesirable” countries were able to enter the United States to perform. However, they were stopped short of obtaining permanent residency or naturalized citizenship. Unfortunately, in 1932, Congress passed a law that made the highly restrictive contract labor laws apply to musicians as well, essentially barring musicians from the country unless they were “of distinguished merit and ability” (8 U.S.C. 137b-d).      Fortunately for Jobim, his timing meant he managed to avoid many of these regulations. In 1952, the INA repealed not only the contract labor law but the subsequent 1932 law as well, releasing the cap on musician immigrants (Section 403 (a) [34]). Additionally, while the INA of 1952 continued to restrict the number of immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Europe, they, for the most part, did not attach quota requirements for immigrants from the Western Hemisphere. As temporary non-immigrants holding B-1 visas, the American quota system never applied to Brazilian bossa nova musicians. It was a win-win.

[7] There were two main reasons why the United States historically allowed essentially unlimited immigration from the Western Hemisphere. First, some members of Congress advocated for this policy as a gesture of good will and a continuation of a relationship that dated to the 1823 Monroe Doctrine and continued well beyond President Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy during the interwar years. As a result, senators such as Duncan Fletcher of Florida went on record in the 1920s to state that, regarding immigration restrictions, “I think we must accord a different treatment, a different code of treatment to South and Central American countries and Canada from what we accord to Europe."          As evidenced by events such as the Bossa Nova Festival and the State Department-sponsored tours that sent Charlie Byrd, Keter Betts, and Buddy Deppenschmidt to Brazil in 1961, Brazil and the United States historically maintained a close relationship. The second reason why United States allowed unlimited immigration from the Western Hemisphere is that, historically, they considered most of its residents as white. There were exceptions, of course. To curb the number of black immigrants, Congress considered the West Indies apart of Great Britain’s quota in both the Immigration Act of 1924 and 1952. Whatever gesture the United States made as a “Good Neighbor” relied, explicitly and implicitly, on the understanding that their neighbors were white. This race-based policy benefited not only Jobim but also many of his colleagues as well. They were arriving to the country during the 1960s, amidst a white ethnic revival whereby descendants of Polish, Irish, and Italian immigrants began to counteract the civil rights movement with romantic stories of their own.

[8] The work requirements of the 1952 INA, Jobim’s country of origin, and his race all benefited Jobim. How he and his colleagues managed to navigate a powerful and historically nativist American Federation of Musicians (AFM) requires more investigation and explanation, however. Although the position of labor unions in the twenty-first century has reversed somewhat, throughout the late nineteenth and well into the twentieth centuries, labor unions and Congress often worked together to implement nativist and racist policies that curbed immigration. Unions made token gestures to recruit unskilled immigrant laborers at the turn of the century.          Between 1906 and 1917 the AFM and Congress even worked to impose literacy tests.          (The Immigration Act of 1917 ultimately implemented such restrictions.) Brazilian bossa nova musicians implicitly suffered from vestiges of such ideologies. As part of a CBS Eyewitness series on the Carnegie Hall concert, CBS shot numerous interviews and interactions between the visiting musicians and their American colleagues. One of these interactions took place at the apartment of saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. Jobim, Gilberto, and some other musicians were supposed to attend, but only Jobim showed up. He told Mulligan that the other Brazilians would not be coming because they were afraid of the AFM. Allegedly, the Brazilian consulate called Jobim and said that the AFM had telephoned to say that Jobim and his colleagues could not perform anywhere for money. The consulate also allegedly reported that if the musicians “performed anywhere for money [they] would be sent home immediately and put in jail."          Why risk making unneeded televised appearances, the musicians thought. Joining the AFM (or otherwise appeasing them) was, after obtaining the proper visas, the second hurdle that Brazilian musicians had to jump through after arriving to the United States.

[9] Yet, despite such threats, the AFM simultaneously adopted positions beneficial to bossa nova musicians. The explanation lies largely within the pages of the International Musician, the official journal of the American Federation of Musicians. Throughout the 1960s, the International Musician practiced some rather nativist views. They loathed, for instance, that studios could pay a small import tax, import canned music from abroad, and include such music in television and film productions, essentially avoiding the need to hire a live musician. However, the AFM’s criticism arose not necessarily because the music was “foreign.” Instead, they took issue with the technological component of the practice. In essence, a foreign performer, who could not get past the immigration authorities in person, could record abroad (usually in Europe). Then, they essentially “performed” within the United States and received corresponding royalties, base fee, and commissions. The AFM, led by President Herman Kenin, found this practice unacceptable. While pages of the International Musician show some vestiges of early twentieth-century nativism, they also offer evidence of policies and opinions that benefited Jobim and his colleagues. First, rank and file were beginning to eschew some of their nativist positions by the 1960s. Second, the AFM’s definition of what good music sounded like defined the music bossa nova musicians often made. However, to quote João Gilberto’s sophomore album title, it was not all love, smiles, and roses. Brazilian musicians of Afro-Brazilian descent still had to enter a country governed by race-based quota system. They had to, despite AFM’s liberalizing attitude towards foreigners, also navigate a racist and segregated union as well. Meanwhile, Brazilian bossa nova musicians – to say nothing of their domestic colleagues – all struggled to survive within a ruthless American music industry. When Jobim stepped off his Pan Am Flight into the terminal of Idlewild airport on November 20, 1962, he was blessed with an immigration law that got him into the country. He entered the country at a time when the AFM was beginning to embrace foreign musicians, provided they met certain criteria. He also entered, despite the systemic advantages he possessed, a merciless economic landscape. 

[10] “Welcome to the United States,” a sign presumably hanging in Idlewild stated, greeting the bossa nova musicians upon arrival.

“Antonio Carlos Jobim” (November 20, 1962), New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967,; “Luiz Bonfá” (November 15, 1962), New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967,; “Francisco Liborio Feitosa” (November 17, 1962), New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967,; “Sergio Santos Mendes” (November 17, 1962), New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967,; “Joao Gilberto” (November 19, 1962), New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967,

Entertainers,” Apply for a US Visa (blog), accessed August 7, 2021,

Gene Lees, “The Bossa Nova Bust: How Brazil’s New Thing Became a Jukebox Travesty,” HI-Fi/Stereo Review, September 1963, 49.

Lees, “The Bossa Nova Bust: How Brazil’s New Thing Became a Jukebox Travesty,” 49.

“Sergio Santos Mendes” (November 24, 1964), California, Federal Naturalization Records, 1843-1999,

Mae M. Ngai offers the most comprehensive studies of American immigration law and its conceptions of race and nationality. See “The Architecture of Race in American Immigration Law: A Reexamination of the Immigration Act of 1924,” The Journal of American History 86, no. 1 (June 1999): 67-92, “The Strange Career of the Illegal Alien: Immigration Restriction and Deportation Policy in the United States, 1921-1965,” Law and History Review 21, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 69-107, “Oscar Handlin and Immigration Policy Reform in the 1950s and 1960s,” Journal of American Ethnic History 32, no. 3 (Spring 2013): 62-67, “Nationalism, Immigration Control, and the Ethnoracial Remapping of America in the 1920s,” OAH Magazine Of History, Reinterpreting the 1920s, 21, no. 3 (July 2017): 11-15, and Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).

Vernon M. Briggs documents the negative effects that immigration has had on union membership over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (“American Unionism and U.S. Immigration Policy,” Backgrounder, Center for Immigration Studies [2001]; “Income Disparity and Unionism: The Workplace Influences of Post-1965 Immigration Policy” [Washington, D.C.: National Policy Association, 1997]). Such studies culminate in Immigration and American Unionism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001).

Krystyn R. Moon argues that the AFM at the turn of the century strove to consider musicians “laborers” and consequently lobbied to prohibit their arrival from foreign countries (“On a Temporary Basis: Immigration, Labor Unions, and the American Entertainment Industry, 1880s—1930s,” The Journal of American Culture 99, no. 3 [December 2012]: 771-792). 

Fletcher quoted in Robert A. Pastor, “U. S. Immigration Policy and Latin America: In Search of the ‘Special Relationship,’” Latin American Research Review 19, no. 3 (1984): 40.

Matthew Frye Jacobson, Roots Too: White Ethnic Revival in Post-Civil Rights America (Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press, 2006).

Leah Haus, “Openings in the Wall: Transnational Migrants, Labor Unions, and U.S. Immigration Policy,” International Organization 49, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 285-313 and Gwendolyn Mink, Old Labor and New Immigrants in American Political Development: Union, Party, and State, 1875-1920 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986). Catherine Collomp demonstrates how organizations like the AFL and Knights of Labor adopted nativism to develop national civic projects (“Unions, Civics, and National Identity: Organized Labor’s Reaction to Immigration, 1881-1897,” Labor History 29, no. 4 [1988]: 450-474).

A.T. Lane, “American Trade Unions, Mass Immigration and the Literacy Test: 1900–1917,” Labor History 25, no. 1 (1984): 5-25.

Antônio Carlos Jobim to Vinícius de Moraes, “Querido Vina do meu coração,” February 1, 1963, Instituto Tom Jobim,

Matthew Frye Jacobson, Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876-1917 (New York, NY: Hill & Wang, 2000).

Quoted in Gene Lees, “Bossa Nova: Anatomy of A Travesty,” DownBeat, February 14, 1963, 24.


When Bossa Was (Un)Profitable: The Shaft, The Elevator, and Making it as a Brazilian Musician in the United States

“Film Track Protest Bring Sponsors’ Aid,” International Musician, May 1960, 8.

Herman Kenin, “President Kenin Testifies Before F.C.C. in Washington D.C.,” International Musician, February 1960, 41.

Herman Kenin, “Kenin Blasts Foreign Tape on Television Shows,” International Musician, January 1962, 8.

FCC decision quoted in Kenin, “President Kenin Testifies Before F.C.C. in Washington D.C.,” 41

“Foreign Film Abuses Fought,” International Musician, January 1960, 8.

Stanley Ballard, “Secretary Ballard Blasts Foreign Tape Recorded Shows,” International Musician, September 1960, 42; “Congressman Pelly Moves Against Illegal Foreign Music,” International Musician, April 1960, 5.

“California Acts on Foreign Film Track,” International Musician, April 1961, 7.

“Locals Lash Out Against Foreign Film-Track,” International Musician, April 1960, 5.

“Film Track Protest Bring Sponsors’ Aid,” 8.

Kenin, “Kenin Blasts Foreign Tape on Television Shows,” 8, 16.

“Historic Agreement: No Canned Music for TV Films,” International Musician, August 1962, 7.

“Television Leans to Live Music,” International Musician, November 1962, 9.

Stoddard, Hope, “What’s Right with Subsidy for Music,” International Musician, December 1960, 18

“Kenin Urges Subsidy Measures at Cabinet Level: Need for Stronger Action in Support of Music and the Arts Stressed,” International Musician, June 1961, 5.

Bing quoted in Anthony Bliss, “Subsidy and the Met,” International Musician, November 1961.

“America’s Best Ambassadors: Small Orchestra, Soloists and Chamber Groups Fill a Special Need in the ANTA Program,” International Musician, January 1960, 10, 11, 14; “Our Best Ambassadors: Jazz, Which Appeals Directly to the People, Has Done Wonders in Creating Understanding and Friendship Abroad,” International Musician, February 1960; “America’s Best Ambassadors: Our Major Symphonies Act as Goodwill Ambassadors on Three Continents,” International Musician, November 1959, 12.

Gene Lees, “Journey with Jazz,” International Musician, September 1962.

“America’s Best Ambassadors: Our Major Symphonies Act as Goodwill Ambassadors on Three Continents,” 12.

Kenin quoted in “Foreign Film Abuses Fought,” 8

The American Federation of Musician’s Decreasing Nativism

[11] The AFM was not entirely receptive to the import of foreign music or musicians. Their initial attempts to pressure Jobim and his colleagues against performing for money offers one example of this stance. Their attempt to ban the importation and use of foreign music by television and film executives offers another. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the AFM was specifically concerned with the fact that music for shows like Sea Hunt, Twilight Zone, and Lock-Up contained music that was scored abroad and recorded for an entirely different purpose. Most often it was made for a foreign-made motion picture (usually in a place like Munich or Rome). It was then separated from the movie, imported to the United States at token customs fee rates of one cent per linear foot, then stored in vast libraries that were easily and cheaply available to American television and film producers.          What the AFM called “music-in-can” (or “canned music”) was given to a technician who opened the can (“like last year’s peas,” AFM president Herman Kenin poetically stated before Congress on January 7, 1960).          Then, armed with a glue pot and a pair of shears, a technician cut and pasted this music into an American television show or film. To make matters worse for the AFM, several of the shows that relied on this technique such as Bat Materson, Wanted: Dead or Alive, and The Rifleman dramatized the American West. These were quintessentially American shows with American themes. To make worse matters even worse, the Department of Defense was guilty of such offenses, lending its support the show Men into Space. All these shows, the AFM argued, were in every visible respect a wholly American-made product that told American stories written by American writers and enacted by American actors. However, although they were marketed as an American-made product, the background music was never recorded in the United States by American musicians. Instead, producers relied on a “mechanical wetback” (as President Kenin not-so-poetically stated before Congress on December 1, 1961).           For about four years, the AFM devoted considerable resources to stopping this practice.

[12] The AFM initially lobbied the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) and Congress to change the laws to curb this practice. In one tactic, the AFM, alongside allies Oregon Senator Wayne Morse and Washington Representative Thomas M. Pelly, tried to pressure the FCC to reverse a decision they made on October 8, 1956 (14 RR 1541) regarding public service announcements. In this 1956 decision, the FCC found that requiring broadcasters to announce the use of mechanical reproductions in programs was “too stringent” and could “detract from the public's enjoyment of programs."          On May 28, 1959, Senator Morse tried to reverse this decision on the floor of Congress by stating that the FCC demonstrated a glaring indifference to public interest by allowing networks, television and film producers, broadcasters, and sponsors to play canned foreign music without any identification of its origin. In late summer 1960, Morse went so far as to introduce Senate Resolution 126 which proposed to investigate the practice.          In another tactic, Rep. Pelly moved to amend the 1952 INA. He wanted to prohibit the use of taped music for television or in theaters that was recorded outside the United States by any person who was not eligible to physically enter the country under the INA. The bill (HR 11043), proposed on March 10, 1960, also provided a stiff penalty for those convicted of violating the restrictions against unregulated use of foreign-made taped music.          Neither bill appeared to progress very far within Congress, however some state governments seemed interested. In April 1961, California, through its State Assembly, introduced a resolution calling for federal legislation to curb the practice of foreign made “canned” music. Rhode Island passed a similar resolution as well. 


[13] While Presidents Kenin and Congressmen Morse and Pelly were trying to find legal mechanisms to curb the importation of canned music, members of the AFM engaged in a productive letter-writing campaigns to sponsors of these offending programs. Ruppert Brewery, the sponsor of Sea Hunt, received several letters from rank-and-file members.          The owners of the brewery wrote back to the president of Local 802 and stated that as soon as contractual obligations ran their course, they would ensure that American musicians would be the sole source of instrumental music to advertise their products. (They ultimately cancelled their contract with Sea Hunt on August 13, 1960.) Other sponsors like Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, Proctor & Gamble, Liggett & Myers, and DuPont all responded to AFM members with similar assurances. Network presidents also felt the heat from the AFM as well. NBC, ABC, and CBS network affiliates in places ranging from Omaha, Nebraska to Great Falls, Montana responded to pressure by stating that the contracts to shows like Sea Hunt and Lock-Up would not be renewed.


[14] Despite such initiatives, by late 1961, nothing had changed. On December 1, President Kenin testified before the Subcommittee on the Impact of Imports and Exports on American Employment that around 35 series of television shows, totaling around 1,431 episodes, still used foreign made canned music. According to Kenin, this cost 6,465 jobs and represented a loss in wages of $742,500. Of the 2,445 skilled film musicians available for work in early November 1961, only 200, or less than 12%, were employed by the film industry. The AFM’s campaign did not seem to have done much.

[15] Yet, on June 28, 1962, the AFM reached an agreement with the Alliance of Television Film Producers. The agreement stated that after January 31, 1963, no library or other mechanical soundtrack would be used in television except for the series for which it was scored.          As of November 1962, all major network television film series producers, except for one lone holdout, were using American musicians to provide background music on domestic television. Shows that used to contained foreign made canned music began to switch, including The Rifleman, Leave it To Beaver, and The Real McCoys. An initiative that began four years prior was over. The AFM’s campaign against foreign made canned music was won.


[16] While the AFM was waging an attack on television and film producers who were undermining local musicians by using imported music, they were also lobbying for increased government sponsorship of the arts. Article after article in International Musician extolled such benefits. Columnist Hope Stoddard argued for arts subsidies by pointing out the United States had subsidized the shipping industry in 1850, the agricultural sector in 1862, and education even earlier. “Today we should be quite used to both the word subsidy and the process, what with letters delivered free to our doors, free highways for motorists, and free schools for our children,” Stoddard wrote in December 1960.          Once again, several government officials found themselves aligned with the AFM. Throughout the 1960s, Kenin worked with Congressmen such as New Jersey Representative Frank Thompson, Jr., and Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey to lobby bills such as HR 4172 and HR 4174. The former proposed to create a Federal Advisory Council. The latter proposed federal subsidies for the arts in the amount of $5,200,000.          As Rudolf Bing, Director of the Metropolitan Opera noted during an interview with International Musician in November 1961, “we need a Marshall Plan.” The AFM was trying to create one.


[17] As the AFM strove to increase subsidies for local performers, they also recognized that they could leverage Cold War-era interest in cultural exchange programs to help finance American groups that toured abroad. Throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, the AFM frequently published articles on how chamber groups, soloists, jazz artists, and large symphonies were “America’s Best Ambassadors."          Gene Lees, who accompanied the Paul Winter Sextet on a tour of South America in 1962, even published an article for International Musician that explained the financial and cultural benefits of such state-sponsored diplomatic tours.          Along with curbing foreign import of canned music, the AFM strove to assist the financial standing of its members by promoting cultural exchange opportunities. To a certain extent, it did not matter if a local band was playing in Des Moines, Iowa or traveling behind the Iron Curtain. Both should be supported.


[18] Out of this embrace of government-sponsored foreign exchange came the following realization: for as many groups that the United States government sent abroad, foreign governments would send an equal amount to the United States. Despite the nativist effort against “foreign-made music” and the adoption of racist language to describe canned music as “mechanical wetbacks,” AFM leadership were nevertheless seemingly receptive to foreign musicians. In a letter President Kenin wrote to Congress in 1959, he stated that although he protests the use of foreign-made canned music, he has “no objection whatever to the presentation of true cultural musical programs by foreign artists either in person or by recording."          Similarly, testifying before Congress on January 7, 1960, Kenin reassured his audience by saying “let me make it perfectly clear that I am not talking about the legitimate product of foreign musicians. We welcome artistic talent from all over the world because the American public interest is clearly served by the enriching experience of music and art from foreign sources."          The AFM specifically embraced artists touring under the auspices of cultural exchange. As President Kenin wrote to Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz in 1964, the AFM “has not attempted restraints against those instrumental artists or combinations that qualify clearly as cultural exchanges."          The AFM appeared to have no issue with foreign musicians, provided they met certain standards and stipulations.


[19] While the AFM was somewhat receptive to the idea of embracing foreign musicians under the auspices of government-sponsored cultural exchange, members of the rank and file were also shedding their views of geographic isolationism and nativism. A brief discussion of the debates surrounding the AFM’s 10% surcharge law highlights this change. During the 1920s, local musicians began to express their displeasure at the touring band which traveled from one local jurisdiction to another. Faced with dwindling opportunities at home thanks to the rise of radio, film, and other modes of technology, members of the AFM adopted a regulation during the 1920s that required that traveling musicians charge 30% above the prevailing scale of a local. The traveling musician was then required to deposit that surcharge with the local, which held the money until the end of the traveling engagement. Upon completion of the gig and departure from the jurisdiction, the traveling musician received the 30% back. Although neither the local nor the AFM ever kept any of that 30% surcharge (it was essentially part of the traveling musician’s wage), in time, the enforcement of the surcharge became more difficult. Instead of being retained by the traveling musician, it was often finding its way back into the pocket of the promoter or booking agent. Violations became so frequent that, at the AFM’s annual convention in 1934, delegates decided to reduce the 30% surcharge to 10%. The new laws also mandated that the traveling musician pay that 10% straight to the AFM instead of receiving it back at the end of their engagement. The AFM distributed 4% of that surcharge to the local and 2% to the traveling musician. The federation kept the remaining 4%. The surcharge law resembled a mild type of a nativist immigration law, a domestic version of the Alien Contract Law. The AFM intended the surcharge law to bolster the local workforce and protect against outside competition.


[20] By 1963, the protectionist ideology that originally motivated the adoption of a traveling surcharge had waned. Under pressure from rank and file, the AFM decided to repeal the 10% surcharge. Jay Staulcup, President of Local 200 in Paducah, Kentucky, helps encapsulate some of the reasons why. In May 1962, Staulcup wrote to President Kenin and cited the concern of musicians in small towns like Paducah. Due to the lack of demand for local entertainment, these small-town musicians could only hold a day job and play dance jobs in other towns on weekends. However, not only were some of these towns often hundreds of miles away, but the traveling band had to pay the 10% surcharge. If the leader failed to pay, then they faced either discipline, finings, or expulsion from the AFM. In contrast, Staulcup cleverly noted, musicians based in large cities like Los Angeles or New York City often played for television, radio, or recording studios. Their music then got piped and broadcast in small towns. However, these musicians did not have to pay the 10% surcharge in that instance. Although he didn’t make the connection outright, Staulcup conceived of the surcharge as a tariff or import ban on musicians: an inhibition that a foreign entertainer trying to come to the United States during the 1930s would have been all too familiar with.

[21While the AFM was embracing a policy of, essentially, domestic free trade, they were also thinking about free trade between the United States and its South American neighbors. In May 1961, President Kenin served as the temporary chairman of the newly inaugurated Intra-American Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The organization was comprised of AFM leaders such as Kenin and Stanley Ballard (who served as Secretary General). It also contained union leaders from countries across South and Central America. Their goal was to facilitate international interchange of ideas, understandings, and working relationships between all free trade unions in the entertainment field.          The next May, the Federation met again, adopting several resolutions that it hoped would help improve the lives of its members. One of the resolutions tried to address the consequences of importing foreign-made canned music and prohibited the “productions that displace natives of the country of origin.” However, in a demonstration of the AFM’s decreasingly nativist stance, another resolution proposed “greater interchange among the entertainment workers of North, Central, and South America, to help extend their work and art.” Another resolution even proposed the “issuance of an international union card.” Both the repeal of the surcharge tax as well as attempts to cooperate with international unions and facilitate cultural exchange testify to the AFM’s increased interest in conceiving itself as an organization that did not shy away from “outside” labor competition (whether from the next town over or the next country over). Instead, the AFM increasingly embraced such musicians.


[22There was an exception to the AFM’s growing liberal view towards foreign music and musicians, though. Kenin’s claims in front of Congress that the AFM had no problem with foreign musicians provided they offer “true musical programs” cannot be overlooked. Oftentimes, the AFM used their understanding of “true music” to bar foreign musicians. The earliest iterations of musicians’ unions, such as the National League of Musicians which operated at the turn of the century, strove to distinguish themselves from the working class and popular culture.          The AFM continued to pursue such paths and, during the 1930s and 1940s, directed their scorn towards jazz music. By the 1950s, they began to accept jazz more but began to take issue with rock and roll. Rock and roll musicians could not, for the most part, read music. This not only precluded them from meeting the minimum requirements to join the AFM but also gave rock and roll a reputation as banal and anti-intellectual music that did not measure up to the AFM’s standards. Consequently, the union lobbied against the importation of foreign rock bands. After the Beatles made a successful tour of the United States in January and February 1964, President Kenin tried to convince Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz to bar any subsequent tours by The Beatles and other “British Invasion” bands like The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Who, and The Kinks. Kenin was even able to convince Wirtz to include AFM members on the committees of the INS and Department of Labor. Once on such committees, they would then be able to screen musicians before they came to the United States. Although The Beatles were eligible to tour the country as temporary non-immigrant H status visitors, there was a caveat: they were either H-I (“of distinguished merit and ability”) or H-2 (“have no unique talents”). On April 2, 1964, after pressure from the AFM, the Department of Labor deemed The Beatles to have “no unique talents” and thus barred their arrival to the United States on those grounds. However, the ban did not last long. Under pressure from the Beatles’ record label, Capitol Records, television and radio networks, and fans, the AFM-influenced Department of Labor ultimately acquiesced. They reclassified The Beatles as entertainers with “special talents” and “unique merits” and allowed the group to tour the country. Nevertheless, The Beatles’ experience attest to the musical elitism present within the AFM.

Bossa Nova’s Classical Reputation


[23Brazilian bossa nova musicians, benefiting from the AFM’s new interest in shedding off its nativism and protectionist ideologies, did not suffer the same reputation that The Beatles did. The fact that Jobim and his colleagues performed bossa nova and not rock and roll certainly helped. In fact, Americans listening to bossa nova throughout the 1960s understood it as a type of classical music. Bossa nova music oozed refinement and luxury. Brazilian diplomats and musicians themselves went to great lengths to present bossa nova in this manner. The New York Times did as well. To promote the Carnegie Hall concert on November 21, 1962, the New York Times listed the performance under the heading “this week’s concert and opera programs."          Alongside the bossa nova concert, the newspaper promoted the Metropolitan Opera, the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Music Aeterna Orchestra. The New York Times made similar editorial decisions at least two other times during the decade. On November 25, 1964, João Gilberto played a set of bossa nova standards at Town Hall in Midtown. The Times promoted the event under “Opera and Concert Programs."          Similarly, on April 20, 1966, the International House in Morningside Heights hosted a scholarship concert that featured bossa nova music.          Once again, the Times placed the performance under the heading “Concerts, Opera, and Recitals.” Presumably, the editors thought that the same audience who liked Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 3 in C would also like João Gilberto, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and bossa nova.

[24Newspapers such as the New York Times had good reason to equate bossa nova with classical music. Many of bossa nova’s originators were influenced as much by the music of Claude Debussy, Frederic Chopin, and Heitor Villa-Lobos as they were by American jazz. Jobim’s own musical upbringing demonstrates this influence perfectly. Jobim derived his prevalence for non-resolved harmonies in songs like “Corcovado” from the ornamental music of Debussy and Villa-Lobos, notably the latter’s Etudes No. 4. He even claimed that his bossa nova standard, “Samba de uma nota só,” was influenced by Chopin’s Prelude in Db.          No song better encapsulates Jobim’s indebtedness to classical music than his 1963 composition, “Insensatez.” Jobim composed a melody whose first eight bars hover around the dominant and minor submediant. During the second eight bars, he repeats the melody down a whole step, alternating between the subdominant and dominant. Then, during the third eight bar section, he repeats the sequence down another whole step, alternating between the minor mediant and subdominant. All the while, the bass descends by half step, creating chromatic basslines that endlessly descend and then loop back onto themselves. Chopin does something similar in his Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28, No. 4. His melody operates the same: the first four measures oscillate between the dominant and minor submediant. Then for the next four measures, Chopin repeats the figure down a whole step, alternating between the subdominant and dominant. All the while, his bass descends chromatically by half step as well. The similarities are uncanny.

[25] In fact, several musicians recognized the closeness between songs such as “Insensatez” and Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor and played music that alluded to the similarities. Music critics caught on as well. Reporting on a performance by Hazel Scott that took place on February 1, 1968, at the Playboy Club Living Room in Los Angeles, Leonard Feather remarked how the pianist made a “logical segue” from an “unaccompanied treatment of Chopin’s Prelude in E minor” into the bossa nova ballad “Insensatez."          Baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan made a similar allusion in his 1963 album, Night Lights. On this album, Mulligan recorded a cover of Prelude in E and, given the similarities between that composition and “Insensatez,” asked drummer Dave Bailey to play a bossa nova pattern underneath his melody. This allusion did not escape Joe Goldberg, critic for Hi-Fi/Stereo Review, who noted that “no violence is done [to] this classic, yet it somehow sounds, without alteration, like the work of Antônio Carlos Jobim."          Goldberg did not go so far as to name the Jobim work that came to mind – surely “Insensatez” – but he certainly recognized the similarities between bossa nova and classical music.


[26Other bossa nova musicians did not graft classical music onto bossa nova rhythms but rather performed each style alongside one another. Some commentators were confused by this approach. Laurindo Almeida and the Modern Jazz Quartet included bossa nova tracks like “Samba de uma nota só” on their 1965 album, Collaboration. However, another track on the album contains Bach’s Fugue in A Minor. This selection befuddled critic Joe Goldberg, who noted in his review of the album that “there seems to be no reason for including this piece other than to prove that the players could do it."          Yet other critics embraced bossa nova’s relationship to classical music. Rex Reed, in a Hi-Fi/Stereo Review column from April 1968, even placed Rafael Mendez and Laurindo Almeida’s album, Together, under the subheading “classical music.”

[27] Several renowned bossa nova musicians were also talented classical performers. Craig Hundley’s Arrival of a Young Giant, for instance, contained songs that ranged from “Bach fugue material to bossa nova."          Similarly, at the Marina del Rey Hotel on November 1, 1966, pianist-composer Jose Norman played “selections from Bach to Bossa Nova."          Guitarist Charlie Byrd was arguably the most prominent musician that straddled the line between being a classical musician and a bossa nova musician. About a year before he embarked on his State Department tour of South America in 1961, Charlie Byrd recorded an album (Four Suites) that contained four suites written by seventeenth-century composer Lodovico Roncalli. Unsurprising then, when Byrd appeared on KCAL-TV in Los Angeles in October 1966, the program was titled “Bach to Byrd.” At this concert, advertisements promised that Byrd would play “classical, bossa nova … everything in between."          The marriage between bossa nova and classical was not as strange as a critic like Goldberg would have believed.


[28] Like Byrd, Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete followed a similar professional path that led him from classical music to bossa nova. Born in Brazil, he studied classical guitar at conservatories in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Around 1961, he traveled to San Francisco where he began to play classical music in various venues. Soon after, he moved to New York City where he was hired to play at the Park Sheraton. There, he abandoned his classical repertoire and began playing pop music. Of Afro-Brazilian background (in Portuguese, Bola Sete means “seven ball,” which is the black pool ball in Brazil), Sete quickly realized the scant opportunities available to him as a black classical performer. However, friends encouraged him to begin to play classical music during his regular Park Sheraton gig. They loved it, he loved it, and ever since, he played classical pieces alongside his bossa nova repertoire. While on residence at the Village Vanguard in August 1963, Sete typically opened his sets with a bossa nova rendition before quickly transitioning to the music of Bach, Isaac Albéniz, and Antonio Vivaldi.          He made similar programming decisions during a bill he shared with the Vince Guaraldi Trio at the Showboat Lounge in Washington D.C. in August-September of 1965. There, Sete typically played selections from Villa-Lobos and Bach before accompanying the Guaraldi trio on bossa nova standards such as “Manhã de carnaval."          Little wonder, then, that an advertisement for a month-long residency featuring Shirley Horn and Bola Sete at the Showboat Lounge made the following claim: “The Showboat Lounge – where Jazz and Classic Meet." 

[29] Coverage within International Musician suggests that the union was captivated by the new style of music coming from Brazil. Writing at the end of 1962 and 1963, both Leonard Feather and John S. Wilson highlighted the increasing amount of international influence on American popular music. They also specifically cited the role cultural exchange played in bringing bossa nova – and albums like Jazz Samba – to the United States.          The AFM’s most overt endorsement, however, came in August 1963 when Charles Perry wrote an article explaining how to play the bossa nova pattern on the drum set. The article resembled the pedagogical instructions found in books like those written by Jucato and Paulinho during the early 1960s. For anyone who not only listened to drummers playing bossa nova but also studied in books like Bossa Nova and Other Latin-American Rhythms and Rhythms and Instruments of Brazil, Perry’s instructions would have looked quite familiar: “For the drummer, [playing the bossa nova pattern] is a combination of familiar rhythms,” Perry began. “for example: the right hand, with a brush on the snare drum, plays eighth notes,” Perry continued. (Play the eighth notes, Perry added, “not as intensely as is customary in Latin music, but more flexibly.”) He went on: “the left hand uses a stick on the snare drum in the following manner: place the butt end of the stick extending over-head, with the tip (forward part) of the stick extending over the rim, striking the rim with an up-and-down motion.” He was explaining in prose how to play a cross stick on the snare drum, creating a sound that imitated Guarany’s famous caixeta timbre. Perry not only explained the technique required, however, but also the rhythm played. “The rhythm is similar to that of the clave beat,” Perry noted, referencing the similarities between Guarany’s bossa nova clave and the son clave. Of course, Perry allowed for variations of this orchestration and instrumentation. He concluded, “it is often considered acceptable to use a drumstick or a timbale stick on the top cymbal instead of the brush on the snare drum."          The AFM not only seemingly embraced bossa nova music and bossa nova musicians from Brazil. They also actively strove to teach their members how to play it as well.

However, to quote João Gilberto’s sophomore album title, it was not all love, smiles, and roses


[30] Despite the AFM’s liberalized stance towards foreign musicians and receptivity to bossa nova, several musicians nevertheless struggled to make a living or even join the union itself. Just like the INA of 1952 barred individuals based on their race, so too did the AFM implement discriminatory membership policies. A brief look at the experiences of other Latin musicians of African descent paints a complex picture of how they navigated this racial terrain. Many arrived to the United States and were immediately thrown into a society heavily segregated along a black-white racial binary. Some, like Mario Bauzá, found themselves victims of racism. Others, like, Machito, were able to leverage their Latin identity to avoid Jim Crow segregation or counteract discrimination.          Some Afro-Brazilians, like Elsie Houston, were seen in multiple ways by American audiences during the 1930s and 1940s: as either exotic or as an ally for racial peace.          The extent to which other Afro-Brazilians performing bossa nova, like Bola Sete, were able to do something similar remains to be explored.         However, African Americans historically encountered difficulties joining the AFM and often participated in segregated unions in cities like Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. As a result, they all struggled to enjoy the benefits that the white locals had and often needed to accept lower wages to secure employment. Segregated locals continued until the late 1960s and even into the 1970s. Once African Americans managed to integrate with their white counterparts, they were often relegated to nominal leadership roles.

[31] Even those Brazilian bossa nova musicians that benefited from institutionalized racism fell victim to a ruthless music industry. The economics surrounding the Getz/Gilberto recording session in March 1963 offers evidence. During the session, debates, primarily between the Brazilian musicians and Verve Records producer Creed Taylor, ensued. As a result of these debates, Astrud Gilberto ended up in the recording booth. She had never sung professionally before but could offer the lyrics to the English versions (written by Gene Lees and Norman Gimbel, respectively) of two of Jobim’s compositions, “Corcovado” and “Garota de Ipanema.” Her soft and whisper-like voice singing the English versions of these songs (“Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” and “The Girl from Ipanema”) thread the needle between the sensuousness sound the Brazilians were trying to achieve and the commercial appeal that producer Creed Taylor wanted to capture. When Taylor finally released the album, about a year after its recording, it became an instant hit. Getz/Gilberto won the 1965 Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Jazz Instrumental Album of the Year – Individual or Group, and Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical. Astrud Gilberto played a large part in the album’s success. Her singing helped "The Girl from Ipanema" win Record of the Year. Despite her notoriety, the rather ad hoc nature of her appearance meant she never signed a contract with Verve Records. Furthermore, despite the fact she essentially starred on the album, she was only paid the same wages that a regular recording-session musician would have received.          Gilberto was not the only person to be ill-compensated for their work at the session, though. Bassist Sebastião Neto played on Getz/Gilberto. However, Verve Records, in a Master Edition re-release from 1997, incorrectly wrote that Tommy Williams played bass instead.


[32] Jobim also felt the effects of an unforgiving music industry. In 1958 and 1960, he entered into a series of contracts with a Brazilian publisher, Editora Musical Arapua (Arapua), which obtained United States copyrights for five of Jobim’s songs. One of them was the popular song, “Desafinado.” Soon thereafter, Arapua assigned its copyright of these five songs to Bendig Music Corp. Bendig, in turn, assigned the rights to “Desafinado” to Hollis Music, Inc. Hollis then, finally, gave the administrative rights to “Desafinado” to their affiliate, Songways Service, Inc.          Musicians typically desire to become composers. That way, they can receive more royalties. However, the initial contract with Arapua proved destructive for Jobim. For one, Hollis Music misrepresented “Desafinado.” Sometime in 1962, the publisher released sheet music for the song. It was part of a larger attempt to cash in on Jobim’s bossa nova hits as quickly as possible, creating English versions of bossa nova songs and pushing sheet music into the marketplace, much to the dismay of Jobim.          In this published version, the editors transcribed Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd’s famous instrumental version of “Desafinado” instead of Jobim’s substantively different version that João Gilberto debuted in 1959 on Chega de Saudade. The sheet music included a vamp on F7 that only existed in the Jazz Samba version. It also excluded several of the melodic chromaticism that Jobim composed – and Gilberto sang – in the original recording. Sometime later, Jobim got ahold of the sheet music and wrote “tudo errado” at the top. “It’s all wrong."          However, it was not just the music that was “all wrong.” What was also “all wrong” about Hollis’ ownership of “Desafinado” was that Jobim made next to nothing in royalties from the composition. By the time the two-cent royalty paid on each record of the English-version tune was divided among Jon Hendricks (who wrote new English lyrics), the American publisher, the Brazilian publisher, and himself, Jobim estimated that he received a quarter of a cent. He then had to split this quarter of a cent with the estate of Newton Mendonça, the original lyricist and co-composer. When it was all said and done, Jobim got about an eighth of a cent on each record.          Compare this rate to the producer royalties that Columbia Records producers Teo Macero and others received on Charlie Byrd’s 1966 bossa nova release, Brazilian Byrd. While internal memos show that Byrd received $2,500 in advance for the recording of this album, contracts also show how Columbia producers received 21 ½ cents per album sale. The contract also broke this flat rate down by song: some songs such as Jobim’s composition, “Dindi,” generated 2 cents per sale for producers Macero and Al Brackman; others such as Jobim’s “Canção do amor demais,” generated 1-¾ cents.          By the 1960s, producers like Macero and Brackman were playing increasingly more important roles in the creative process.          Jobim even recognized the importance of technology in constructing a musical product. Recording technology during the midcentury tended to boost the sound of the low end, making instruments like double bass or bass drums uncharacteristically loud. Consequently, Jobim took judicious care with his treatment of double bass in his arrangements with João Gilberto on albums Chega de saudade and O amor, o sorriso, e a flor. Gilberto’s batida often played “bass notes” on the guitar, encouraging Jobim to omit the double bass from specific musical sections.          As producers and engineers, Macero and Brackman would have noticed similar issues in the recording quality and made important decisions accordingly. Nevertheless, artists like Jobim had reasons to feel shortchanged. While popular songs such as “Desafinado” netted him about 1/8-cent per sale, producers seemed to get about between 7/8 of a cent and a dollar per sale: 7 or 8 times as much.


[33] Gene Lees summarized the economic plight of Brazilian musicians as early as February 1963: “somebody was making a lot off [“Desafinado”.] And off bossa nova. But not Jobim. And not Gilberto."          It was, however, saxophonist Stan Getz. The saxophonist even joked that the success of “Desafinado” helped “pay for college for his five children."         If immigration law benefited white Brazilian musicians like Gilberto and Jobim, the realities of the music industry made their lives within the United States difficult. It was a win-lose situation.


The Shaft and the Elevator

[34] If Charles Dickens were to have analyzed the circumstances surrounding these Brazilian musicians on the eve of the Carnegie Hall concert, he may have written that “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Dickens wrote the famous phrase in 1859 to describe the environment of the late eighteenth-century that led to the French Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror. Jobim and his colleagues did not experience the same tenuous and violent circumstances that Dickens documented a century and a half ago, but they nevertheless experienced the effects of a complicated and contradictory immigration and labor environment within the United States. If you were to have asked a musician to describe the circumstances surrounding bossa nova around the same time, they might have said “some get the shaft, others get the elevator."          Those are the words that drummer Buddy Deppenschmidt used to describe his experience as a bossa nova musician during the 1960s. His phrase captures the same spirit as Dickens’: both evoke a moment defined by wealth and inequality. Fortune and disappointment. The haves and the have nots. Deppenschmidt unfortunately experienced this binary first-hand. He had the idea to record Jazz Samba after returning from a State Department tour of Brazil. He approached Verve Records producer Creed Taylor and suggested that they bring Getz into the session. Yet, he – and to a lesser extent Charlie Byrd – struggled to receive financial compensation and recognition for their role. Taylor and Getz, who profited disproportionately off the album, got the elevator. Deppenschmidt, who was making a comfortable but not luxurious living as of 2019, got the shaft. He was not alone, either. 


[35] Throughout the 1960s, a range of individuals – from disc jockey Felix Grant to trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie – struggled to receive recognition for their role in disseminating bossa nova within the United States. Dizzy Gillespie accused most of the American public of possessing a short memory when, in 1962, he told several African American newspapers that he was playing bossa nova two years before Byrd and Getz even recorded Jazz Samba. To a certain extent Gillespie was right. Gillespie had been one of the first Americans to hear and record bossa nova, possibly hearing very early performances of it when he toured Brazil in 1956. He most likely came across it when he returned to Rio de Janeiro in 1961 with a quintet composed of Leo Wright, Lalo Schifrin, Bob Cunningham, and Chuck Lampkin.         Their tour coincided with Monte Kay’s American Jazz Festival and the quintet joined several other American jazz musicians and Brazilian musical hosts to exchange ideas and play in jam sessions. Famous producer and broadcaster for Voice of America, Willis Conover, accompanied Gillespie and the other musicians on tour during the festival and recalled how a private bus took the musicians to the promoter’s resort.          Among the bus passengers was a teacher at one of Rio de Janeiro’s local samba schools who demonstrated the local rhythms, dances, and songs. The teacher was assisted by fifteen passengers from Rio.          The musical exchange that occurred during the tour was so productive that when Gillespie played with the same quintet just two months later at the Monterey Jazz Festival, he performed a classic bossa nova standard, “Desafinado,” as well as an arrangement of “Pau de Arara,” a maracatu written by Luiz Gonzaga, a famous composer and singer from the state of Pernambuco in Northeastern Brazil. Although the live recording of the festival was not released until the 1970s, this was one of the few performances of bossa nova by an American that took place before 1962. Gillespie naturally had some reason to be upset. To make his position clear, he even offered an analogy that would have resonated with rock and roll fans: “I guess it’s something like this ‘Twist’ mess,” Gillespie explained in the Pittsburgh Courier in November 1962. “Hank Ballard and the Midnighters came forth first but finished last in the millions behind Chubby Checker. It’s the breaks!"          Some get the shaft; others get the elevator.

[36] Felix Grant, a disc jockey for Washington D.C.’s WMAL station and the host of “The Album Show,” also felt short-changed. He first heard bossa nova in 1957 while listening to Luiz Bonfá’s Brazilian Guitar and became infatuated with Brazilian music ever since. He not only programmed bossa nova on his popular radio station but also helped organize the Carnegie Hall concert in 1962. However, during a published conversation between critic Leonard Feather and Charlie Byrd in August 1963, Grant’s contributions were never mentioned. Instead, the two mostly focused on Byrd’s State Department-sponsored tour of South America in 1961 and the role his tour of Brazil played in bringing bossa nova to the United States. The discussion, printed in DownBeat on August 29, 1963, caught the attention of Grant.          He was angry enough to write a letter to the magazine’s editor in response: “the foresight I had with regard to Brazilian music seems to have been overlooked,” Grant wrote. “For many years, I have made Brazilian music a regular part of my evening presentation on WMAL … It is regrettable to me that Charlie Byrd displays such a short memory."          Grant should have spoken with Deppenschmidt about the situation. The drummer would have reminded him of a simple axiom: some get the shaft; others get the elevator.

ory,” DownBeat, October 10, 1963, 9.

[38] When Jobim and his colleagues stepped into Idlewild’s terminal in late November 1962, they were benefiting – and about to benefit – from various institutional factors: they were going to be paid, even though they were temporary visitors who could not legally work in the country; their race (for the most part) and place of birth meant that they could later become permanent residents during a time when the United States was implementing a race-based and discriminatory immigration policy; their race (once again, for the most part) and their successful attempts to promote their music as refined meant they were able to join and appease a powerful, nativist, racist, and elitist American Federation of Musicians. For these reasons, many of these Brazilian bossa nova musicians were riding the elevator.

[39] But once they began to record and perform, they began to get the shaft. They were not paid, or their payment was delayed; they were not given proper credit in album liner notes; in their view, their music was being performed incorrectly by American artists; they sold the rights to their music and received little royalties in return. Whatever institutional factors they benefited from were immediately offset by the harsh realities of the American music industry, which, to be fair, impacted more than just Brazilians. The lived a Dickens-like Tale of Two Cities. It was best of the times, the worst of times. An immigration system that benefited some but a disastrous economic system that obstructed even more. The shaft and the elevator.

Kenin quoted in “President Kenin Testifies Before F.C.C. in Washington D.C.,” 41.

Kenin quoted in Michael James Roberts, “A Working-Class Hero Is Something to Be: The American Musicians’ Union’s Attempt to Ban the Beatles, 1964,” Popular Music 29, no. 1 (January 2010): 7.

Herman Kenin, “Message from the President to All Federation Members and Local Officers,” International Musician, August 1963, 5.

“President Kenin Answers Dissident Member: In Response to Many Requests We Publish Herewith an Exchange of Letters between Jack Staulcup, President of Local 200, Paducah, Kentucky, and President Kenin,” International Musician, May 1962, 6.

Hubert H. Humphrey, “American Confederations of Free Trade Unions Conference,” International Musician, July 1961, 11.

“Forward Step in Labor Relations: Inter-American Federation of Entertainment Workers Successfully Established,” International Musician, June 1962, 7, 9.

James P. Kraft, “Artists as Workers: Musicians and Trade Unionism in America, 1880-1917,” The Musical Quarterly 79, no. 3 (Autumn 1995): 512-543.

The AFM’s attempts to prohibit foreign rock and roll groups during the decade is discussed in Michael James Roberts, “You Say You Want a (Counter) Revolution? Attempts by the Musicians’ Union to Jam Up Rock and Roll,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the America 4, no. 4 (2007): 33-54. See also “A Working-Class Hero Is Something to Be: The American Musicians’ Union’s Attempt to Ban the Beatles, 1964” and Tell Tchaikovsky the News: Rock ’n’ Roll, the Labor Question, and the Musicians’ Union, 1942–1968 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014).

"Music Notes,” New York Times, November 21, 1962, 26; “This Week’s Concert and Opera Program,” New York Times, November 18, 1962, X11.

“Opera and Concert Programs,” New York Times, November 22, 1964, X12.

“Who Makes Music and Where,” New York Times, April 17, 1966, 132.

Peter Freeman, “Antonio Carlos Jobim: Eclecticism in Popular Music,” in Music Research: New Directions for a New Century (London: Cambridge Scholars, 2004), 263–76.

Leonard Feather, “Hazel Scott Opens at Playboy,” Los Angeles Times, February 1, 1968, C8.

Joe Goldberg, “Jazz; Gerry Mulligan: Night Lights,” HI-Fi/Stereo Review, March 1964, 100.

Joe Goldberg, “Jazz; Peggy Lee: In the Name Of Love/Modern Jazz Quartet: Collaboration,” HI-Fi/Stereo Review, January 1965, 98.

Rex Reed, “Best of The Month (Trumpet/Guitar Duets: Ten Bands Of Perfection),” HI-Fi/Stereo Review, April 1968, 78.

“Jazz Special Merit: Craig Hundley - Arrival of A Young Giant,” Billboard, December 14, 1968, 77.

“Composer to Play,” Los Angeles Times, October 30, 1966, CS17.

“Tonight! By Popular Demand!,” Los Angeles Times, October 26, 1966, D17.

John S. Wilson, “Brazilian Guitarist Goes from Bach to Jazz: Bola Sete Is Making Bossa Nova His Starting Point,” New York Times, April 11, 1963, 30.

John Pagones, “Brazilian Guitarist Back at The Show,” Washington Post, August 27, 1965, D43.

“Shirley Horn: Mercury Recording Star,” Washington Post, March 6, 1963, A18.

John S. Wilson, “Jazz Scene in 1962,” International Musician, January 1963, 8; Leonard Feather, “Jazz Scene in 1963,” International Musician, January 1963, 9, 12.

Charles Perry, “Modern Drumming: The Bossa Nova,” International Musician, August 1963, 26–27.

Christina Abreu, Rhythms of Race: Cuban Musicians and the Making of Latino New York City and Miami, 1940-1960 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2015)

Micol Seigel, “Sound Legacy: Elsie Houston,” in Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique, ed. Ronald M. Radano and Tejumola Olaniyan (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016), 116–34.

Discussions of Brazilian immigrants during the 1960s are hard to come by. Dárien J. Davis offers a substantive overview in “Before We Called This Place Home: Precursors of the Brazilian Community in the United States,” in Becoming Brazuca: Brazilian Immigration to the United States, ed. Clémence Jouët-Pastré and Leticia J. Braga (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), 25–55. However, similar histories are hard to come back. Ian R. H. Rockett offers reasons why in Ian R. H. Rockett, “Immigration Legislation and the Flow of Specialized Human Capital from South America to the United States,” The International Migration Review 10, no. 1 (Spring 1976). In 1962, 612 immigrants from Brazil made their way to the United States as laborers. The number shot up amidst the military junta to 1,200 in 1965 and then dipped back to 361 by the end of the decade. About 30 percent of such arrivals were classified as professional. Brazilians did not just exist in large numbers in the United States. The historic lack of Brazilian immigration does not preclude the fact that Brazilians have recently made-up thriving communities in the United States. Anthropologist Maxine L. Margolis studies these communities in detail in Little Brazil: An Ethnography of Brazilian Immigrants in New York City (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994) and Goodbye Brazil: Emigrés from the Land of Soccer and Samba (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). Bernadete Beserra conducts similar ethnographic studies in “The Reinvention of Brazil and Other Metamorphoses in the World of Chicago Samba,” Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology 8, no. 1 (June 2011), “Samba in Chicago: Escaping Hegemonic Multiculturalist Boundaries,” Latin American Perspectives 39, no. 3 (May 2012), and Brazilian Immigrants in the United States: Cultural Imperialism and Social Class (New York, NY: LFB Scholarly Publishing LLC, 2003).

Colter Harper’s “The Paradox of Progress: Jazz, Resistance, and Black Musical Labor in Pittsburgh (1955–1974),” Jazz Perspectives 11, no. 1 (2018): 69–101, Leta E. Miller’s “Racial Segregation and the San Francisco Musicians’ Union, 1923–60,” Journal of the Society for American Music 1, no. 2 (2007): 161-206, and Clark Halker’s “A History of Local 208 and the Struggle for Racial Equality in the American Federation of Musicians,” Black Music Research Journal 8, no. 2 (Autumn 1988): 207-222 all document these struggles.

Astrud Oliveira, also known as Astrud Gilberto, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Frito-Lay, Inc., Pepsico, Inc., BBDO Worldwide, Inc., and Omnicom Group, Inc., No. 251 F.3d 56 (US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit May 8, 2001).

Corcovado Music Corp. v. Hollis Music, Inc., Bendig Music Corp., Songways Service, Inc.., No. 981 F.2d 679 (US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit January 5, 1993).

Joachim Pollack, “Samba Do Avião: Transnationalism and Sophistication-As-Modernity in Antônio Carlos Jobim’s Early 1970s Repertoire” (Gainesville, FL, University of Florida, 2020).

Jobim, Antônio Carlos, “Desafinado” (Partitura publicada, 1963), Instituto Tom Jobim, Liliana Harb Bollos, Fernando A. de A. Corrêa, and Carlos Henrique Costa offer a general overview of the various “translations” of “Desafinado” within the United States. See “The Historic Recordings of the Song Desafinado: Bossa Nova Development and Change in the International Scene,” Art Research Journal 4, no. 1 (June 2017): 96–113.

Lees, “The Bossa Nova Bust: How Brazil’s New Thing Became a Jukebox Travesty,” 49.

Teo Macero, “Memo to Bob Ciotti” (New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts, May 7, 1965), Box 8, Folder 12, Series I: Columbia/CBS Records and M. Productions artist project files; Sandy Lagin, “Memo to Walter Dean” (New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts, April 29, 1965), Box 8, Folder 12, Series I: Columbia/CBS Records and M. Productions artist project files. Thanks goes to Mark McCorkle for helping me make sense of these contracts. 

Susan Schmidt Horning argues that engineers helped musicians create a certain feel as performers began to realize that what they played and what their listeners heard varied wildly (The Sounds of Space: Studio as Instrument in the Era of High Fidelity,” in The Art of Record Production: An Introductory Reader for a New Academic Field [Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012] and Chasing Sound: Technology, Culture, and the Art of Studio Recording from Edison to the LP [Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2013]). Producers played increasing roles during the 1960s as well, evolving from organizers of musicians to integral members of the creative and recording process. See Virgil Moorefield, The Producer as Composer: Shaping the Sounds of Popular Music (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005). Such scholarship pairs well with Mark Katz’s Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004).

Marcio Pinho and Eduardo Vicente, “Antonio Carlos Jobim: The Author as Producer,” in Producing Music, ed. Russ Hepworth-Sawyer, Jay Hodgson, and Mark Marrington (New York, NY: Routledge, 2019), 75–86. Thanks goes to Darren Mueller for sharing this source with me.

Lees, “Bossa Nova: Anatomy of A Travesty,” 24.

Getz quoted in Martha Tupinamba de Ulhoa, Cláudia Azevedo, and Felipe Trotta, eds., Made in Brazil: Studies in Popular Music (New York, NY: Routledge, 2015), 189.

Buddy Deppenschmidt, interview by Rami Stucky, September 2, 2019; Adler, “Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd: Give the Drummer Some.”

Musicians, immigrant or not, had to navigate a tenuous political economy during the 1960s. Marian Jago focuses specifically on this period in “Sitting in and Subbing Out: The Gig Economy of 1960s New York,” in The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies (New York, NY: Routledge, 2018): 251-260. Mark Laver offers a similar history but focuses on musicians in Canada (“Jazz Works: Music, Advertising, and Labor in Toronto, in 1955-1980,” in The Oxford Handbook of Music and Advertising [New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2021]: 163-184). For a longer history that focuses specifically on Black musicians, see Gerald Horne’s Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music (New York, NY: Monthly Review Press, 2019). Paul Chevigny illustrates the difficult zoning and licensing laws that musicians had to navigate in Gigs: Jazz and the Cabaret Laws in New York City, Second Edition (New York, NY: Routledge, 1991). Robin D.G. Kelley likewise charts the economic condition of musicians adjusting to the issues brought by radio and technology in “Without a Song: New York Musicians Strike Out Against Technology,” in Three Strikes: Miners, Musicians, Salesgirls, and the Fighting Spirit of Labor’s Last Century (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2002): 119-156. Philippe Sundfeld offers a related history, focusing on João Gilberto and how he struggled to with Brazilian record labels during the late twentieth century (“Bossa Nova and the Interpretation of Performers’ Right of Integrity in Brazil,” Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice 11, no. 5 [2016]: 326-328).

Dizzy Gillespie, To Be or Not – To Bop, Second Edition (1979) (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), 429.

Willis Conover receives considerable attention in histories of musical diplomacy. Brandan P. Buck offers a general overview of Conover’s famous programming in “‘The Mortar Between the Bricks’: Willis Conover and Global Jazz,” Jazz Perspectives 10, no. 2–3 (2017): 185-206. James E. Dillard offers another overview written for audiences working in the Foreign Intelligence industry in “All That Jazz: CIA, Voice of America, and Jazz Diplomacy in the Early Cold War Years, 1955-1965,” American Intelligence Journal 30, no. 2 (2012): 39-50. Rüdiger Ritter documents how Conover’s broadcast included Eastern Bloc performers which cultivated interest amongst listeners in jazz behind the iron curtain (“Broadcasting Jazz into the Eastern Bloc—Cold War Weapon or Cultural Exchange? The Example of Willis Conover,” Jazz Perspectives 7, no. 2 [2013]: 111-131). Mark A. Breckenridge studies Conover’s Friends of Music USA newsletter to demonstrate how, although Conover maintained his broadcasts were musically and personally unbiased, he infused his newsletters with partisan sentiments (“Willis Conover’s International Jazz Diplomacy through Fandom: The Friends of Music USA Newsletter [1964–1969],” Jazz Perspectives 7, no. 2 [2013]: 91-109).

Cary Ginell, The Evolution of Mann: Herbie Mann and the Flute in Jazz (Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard, 2014), Chapter 13: “I Have to Go to Brazil,” para. 9.

Gillespie quoted in George E. Pitts, “Dizzy Gillespie Played Bossa Nova Two Years Ago,” Pittsburgh Courier, November 24, 1962, 15.

Leonard Feather, “Jazz Samba: The Other Side of the Record,” DownBeat, August 29, 1963, 12–13.

Felix Grant, “Short Memory,” DownBeat, October 10, 1963, 9.

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