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Chapter 6

[1] Imagine walking into a high school jazz rehearsal anytime in the last twenty years; chances are you would have heard at least one of two bossa nova songs off saxophonist Joe Henderson’s seminal hard bop album from 1963, Page One. The more likely song to hear played by such struggling and promising amateur musicians is trumpeter Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa” (track 1 off the album). The other song you may have heard in the practice room is Henderson’s “Recorda-Me” (track 4 off the album). There are many reasons why novice students interested in jazz often play, and are recommended to learn, both of these bossa nova tunes: neither song contains a bridge, meaning students can easily navigate a rather short sixteen-bar form; both songs contain long moments of static harmony – a classic hard bop trope – where students can improvise over concert C-minor (“Blue Bossa” and “Recorda-Me”) or A-minor (“Recorda Me”) for measures at a time; finally, each tune features a series of ii-V progressions (in the keys of C and Db in “Blue Bossa” and in Bb, Ab, Gb, F, and A in “Recorda Me”) that introduces students to a foundational chord progression that they will encounter in several other jazz songs. Many readers might not have to imagine playing “Blue Bossa” in high school band or learning “Recorda-Me” in an introductory improvisation course in college. They may have simply lived that experience. I know I have.

[2] Scholars, musicians, and activists understandably take issue with various aspects of institutionalized jazz pedagogy.          It can stifle creativity.          It fosters patriarchal attitudes.          It downplays the African American contributions to the genre.          However, in this case, pedagogues should expose young musicians to these two songs since both tunes offer windows into a rich, overlooked history of bossa nova. Perhaps surprisingly, many students’ first exposure to the rhythms of bossa nova did not come in the form of some canonical songs by Antônio Carlos Jobim such as “Garota de Ipanema” or “Desafinado.” Instead, they often learn bossa nova by playing the bluesy and vamp-based compositions of Kenny Dorham and Joe Henderson. Also surprisingly, jazz students’ first exposure to the soulful and funky sounds of hard bop music was not in the form of bassist Charles Mingus’ “Better Get It in Your Soul” or drummer Art Blakey’s “Blues March” but rather in two bossa nova recordings, “Blue Bossa” and “Recorda-Me.”


[3] Several commentators during the 1960s often chastised bossa nova recordings like Dorham and Henderson’s that sounded too funky or soulful. Writing for DownBeat, Don Heckman contrasted bossa nova to hard bop by noting that bossa nova’s “soft understatements and great harmonic subtlety contrasted favorably with the hard intensity of the soul-jazz groups and the frenetic complexity of the avant garde."          (Heckman must have never heard Archie Shepp’s rendition of “Garota de Ipanema.”) Vibraphonist Cal Tjader came to a similar conclusion when he offered some disparaging remarks about “Star Song” from Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete’s album, Bola Sete and Friends. Pianist Vince Guaraldi’s playing on the album specifically troubled Tjader, who told Leonard Feather that “the only thing that bothered me was Vince will have a nice line established melodically and then he suddenly gets caught back in some of these funky cliches, which are out of context with the mood. It’s like trying to play a pretty bossa nova tune and then going funky."          In both these examples, hard bop and bossa nova seem to have nothing to do with each other. 


[4] Placing bossa nova within a hard bop context may come as a surprise since scholars tend to discuss bossa nova as a type of “cool jazz” – hard bop’s ideological and aesthetic opposite. The blues, gospel, and rhythm and blues styles of the 1940s and 1950s found themselves in the hard bop recordings of jazz musicians during the 1950s and 1960s. Hard bop musicians like Horace Silver and Charles Mingus (and Dorham and Henderson) strove to forefront jazz’s roots in blues and create music that often, although not always, distanced itself from the cooler, urbane sensibilities of the “cool school” embodied by saxophonists Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan.          These musicians in the cool school profoundly influenced the middle- and upper-class musicians who developed bossa nova in Rio de Janeiro during the 1950s as well as the bossa nova recorded in the United States during the 1960s. A rapid-fire listing of various quotations demonstrates how intertwined bossa nova and cool jazz are in scholars’ minds:


  • “Bossa composers would draw more from ‘west coast’ cool jazz, a smooth, relaxed, restrained jazz style of the 1950s.”

  •  “Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal [two Brazilian bossa nova innovators] spent a lot of time experimenting with chords influenced by the music of ‘cool jazz’ players Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, and Shorty Rogers."

  • “By introducing an intimate musical register not unlike that of cool jazz, bossa nova was in harmony with the ideology of rationality, unadornedness, and functionalism.”

  •  “It was [Antônio Carlos] Jobim’s style that became internationally known as bossa nova because of its close ties with the cool jazz style of performance.”

  •  “Bossa nova was influenced by what was contemporary in the United States at the time, i.e., cool jazz.”

Given the preponderance of such comments, it may seem odd to tell a story of hard bop musicians playing music that scholars have intertwined so firmly with cool jazz.

[5] Yet, underneath the histories that describe bossa nova as antithetical to “funky” music and thus more attuned to “cooler” aesthetics of cool jazz – lies evidence that places the history of bossa nova in much different context. In a review of Brazilian guitarist Roberto Menescal’s music, lyricist and critic Gene Lees noted that “in addition to the soft approach of Gilberto, influenced by the West Coast [i.e., cool jazz] movement, there is what might be called soul bossa nova, which owes a lot to the “hard” bluesy jazz of such Americans such as Horace Silver."          Another piece of evidence attests to the close relationship between hard bop and bossa nova. In an odd (perhaps even malicious) misattribution, Audio Fidelity credited “Daahoud,” a track from Os Bossa Três’ album, Jazz Tempo – Latin Accents, to the members of the Brazilian trio as opposed to hard bop trumpeter Clifford Brown who wrote the song in 1955. It would not be inconceivable for the music of Brazilian musicians to be mistaken with those of a noted hard bop musician such as Clifford Brown. The American blues profoundly influenced bossa nova innovators in Brazil during the 1950s and 1960s. For instance, saxophonist Paulo Moura, in his 1959 album, Paulo Moura inerpreta Radamés Gnatalli, performed with frequent slurs and bent notes, a technique he adopted from blues musicians.         The misattribution in Os Bossa Três’ album arises, then, less because of Audio Fidelity’s ignorance (although that surely should be cited) and more because of how frequently bossa nova and hard bop musicians interacted. Another notable point: Jazz Tempo – Latin Accents did not just contain hard bop standards like “Daahoud,” but also featured Sonny Simmons, Prince Lasha, and Clifford Jordan, the latter musician having experience playing in rhythm and blues bands in Chicago during the late 1950s. The overlap between bossa nova and hard bop musicians, as well as bossa nova and blues and soul musicians, runs deep.


[6] The overlap between hard bop and the black working class runs deep as well. Between 1945 and 1965, hard bop musicians gained prominence with listeners in America’s inner cities and metropolitan areas. Hard bop guitarist Kenny Burrell, for instance, grew up in a working-class household in Detroit and, during the 1950s, played at bars frequented by working class residents like the Blue Bird.          Similar artists included Lou Donaldson, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Brother Jack McDuff, Willis “Gator Tail” Jackson, and Ramsey Lewis who recorded for labels renowned for their hard bop and soul jazz releases like Prestige, Riverside, and Blue Note.          Several of these musicians would go on to make bossa nova recordings well.

[7] Yet, as several examples demonstrate, music never stays in one camp. It never appeals to one race or one class or one demographic. It tends to “cross over.” Motown provides one of the more famous examples.          During the 1960s, Motown Records consistently invoked rural life of the South, black vernacularisms, references to food, and messages of uplift in its music and marketing. George Bohanon’s Boss: Bossa Nova, recorded for Motown subsidiary, Jazz Workshop, offers a good example. The album featured several members of the Funk Brothers, Motown’s regular session musicians. Such members included trombonists Henry Cosby and Bob Cousar who helped give bossa nova some “spice,” according to the album’s liner notes.        Interestingly, it wasn’t their playing on trombone that achieved this effect, rather their playing of “gourd” (!) and other auxiliary percussion. The album did not make a dent in any market, yet many Motown records sold well amongst white audiences.          Other artists and genres blurred similar boundaries. Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, working with Verve producer Creed Taylor, recorded albums like A Day in the Life in 1967 that, on the one hand, demonstrated his mastery of hard bop blues idioms. Yet, thanks to the album’s inclusion of contemporary pop hits by artists like The Beatles, the album crossed over and achieved commercial success at a time when American audiences were listening to traditional jazz less and less.      Saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., working with Taylor yet again, likewise recorded jazz that merged jazz with pop music, creating a genre of smooth jazz.           Such examples abound. In fact, music and musicians have always “crossed over.” During the early part of the twentieth century, black and white musicians played similar types of music. However, a music industry interested in segregating sound marketed one style as “blues” (for and by African Americans) and the other style “country” (for and by whites).           Only thanks to a history of racism and discrimination do scholars ever think about music as “crossing over.”  

[8] An analysis of bossa nova’s incorporation of African American musical and cultural signifiers captures this nuanced history. On the one hand, it attests to what Gene Lees calls “soul bossa nova."          It also shows how such signifiers cropped up in multiple – often contradictory – contexts. Take record labels, musicians, and journalists’ discussion of bossa nova as a type of “soul food.” On the one hand, this tapped into black working-class Southern culture. Yet, “soul food” – as a cuisine and a symbolic piece of culture – appealed to middle class African Americans as well.          Similarly, bossa nova appeared in juke joints which often catered to black and white working-class audiences. Yet, further analysis shows that jukeboxes appeared in establishments catering to the middle-class as well.

[9When amateur jazz musicians open their Real Book of jazz standards to learn “Blue Bossa” and “Recorda-Me,” they play two compositions that illuminate the several contradictions of American culture. On one hand they’re playing music rooted in black working-class life. They’re playing music that marketed itself on its ability to capture the taste and spirit of “soul food” which spoke to black working class and middle-class interest alike. They played music found in some jukejoints while other jukejoints played wildly dissimilar sounding music. Even if they are relatively easy standards to learn and play, the histories behind them uncover something far more complex about American culture.

David Ake and Ken Prouty write about jazz education in general in “Crossing the Street: Rethinking Jazz Education,” in Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries, ed. David Ake, Charles Hiroshi Garrett, and Daniel Ira Goldmark (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2012), 237–63 and “Jazz Education: Historical and Critical Perspectives,” in The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies, ed. Nicholas Gebhardt, Nichole Rustin-Paschal, and Tony Whyton (New York, NY: Routledge, 2018), 45–53, respectively.

Eitan Wilf, School for Cool: The Academic Jazz Program and the Paradox of Institutionalized Creativity (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2014). David Ake’s “Jazz ’Training: John Coltrane and the Conservatory,” in Jazz Cultures (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002), 112–45 points out how jazz students tend to disregard Coltrane’s spiritualism and turn his music into a series of mechanical licks.

Tracy McMullen, “Jazz Education after 2017: The Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and the Pedagogical Lineage,” Jazz & Culture 4, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2021): 27–55.

Loren Kajikawa notes how music education in general tends to forefront white epistemologies as well (“The Possessive Investment in Classical Music: Confronting Legacies of White Supremacy in U.S. Schools and Departments of Music,” in Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness across the Disciplines, ed. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw [University of California Press, 2019], 155–74 and “Leaders of the New School? Music Departments, Hip-Hop, and the Challenge of Significant Difference,” Twentieth-Century Music 18, no. 1 [2020]: 45–64). James Gordon Williams’ “‘The Root of All of This Music’: Randy Weston’s Pan African Approach to Music Education,” Jazz & Culture 4, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2021): 33–67 shows how Randy Weston offers an alternative to this history.

Don Heckman, “Ornette and The Sixties,” DownBeat, July 2, 1964, 60.

Tjader quoted in Leonard Feather, “Blindfold Test: Cal Tjader,” DownBeat, June 17, 1965, 36.

Scott Saul, Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), 3.

Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha, The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova, and the Popular Music of Brazil (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1998), 57.

Santuza Cambraia Naves, “From Bossa Nova to Tropicália: Restraint and Excess in Popular Music,” in Imagining Brazil, ed. Jessé Souza (New York, NY: Lexington Books, 2007), 251.

Irna Priore, “Authenticity and Performance Practice: Bossa Nova and João Gilberto,” Song and Popular Culture 53 (2008): 115–16.

Albrecht Moreno, “Bossa Nova Novo Brasil: The Significance of Bossa Nova as a Brazilian Popular Music,” Latin American Research Review 17, no. 2 (1982): 140.


Bryan McCann, “Blues and Samba: Another Side of Bossa Nova History,” Luso-Brazilian Review 44, no. 2 (2007): 28.

Anthony Macías, “"Detroit Was Heavy”: Modern Jazz, Bebop, and African American Expressive Culture,” The Journal of African American History 95, no. 1 (2010): 44–70.

Gene Lees, “Entertainment (Pops/Jazz/Films/Theater/Folk/Spoken Word); Roberto Menescal: The Boy from Ipanema,” HI-Fi/Stereo Review, April 1965, 102–3.

David H. Rosenthal, “Jazz in the Ghetto: 1950-70,” Popular Music 7, no. 1 (January 1988): 51–56, “Hard Bop and Its Critics,” The Black Perspective in Music 16, no. 1 (Spring 1988): 21–29, and Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music, 1955-1965 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1992). Mark Anthony Neal contributes to this history as well, writing that “hard bop emerged in the middle 1950s as a form of modern jazz with roots in the black working-class culture.” See What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture (New York, NY: Routledge, 1999), 29. More information about hard bop is in Kenny Mathieson, Cookin’: Hard Bop and Soul Jazz, 1954-65 (Edinburgh, UK: Canongate Books, 2002) and Bob Porter, Soul Jazz: Jazz in the Black Community, 1945-1975 (Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation, 2016).

The blues, soul, and rhythm and blues comprise other examples of black working-class music. Robin D.G. Kelley looks at the Southern black working-class and their attendance at dance halls and blues clubs during the 1940s. He argues that such pursuits of leisure allowed the black working-class opportunities to escape the world of assembly lines and battles against racism, sexism, and material deprivation while also allowing African Americans opportunities to share vernacular and cultural forms they held in common. See “‘We Are Not What We Seem’: Rethinking Black Working-Class Opposition in the Jim Crow South,” The Journal of American History 80, no. 1 (June 1993): 75–112. In a study of the black working-class in Tampa, Florida during the 1940s, Diane Turner notes that “the black working-class community on Central Avenue was a cultural hearth for gospel, blues, and rhythm and blues.” See “Black Music Traditions of Central Avenue,” Practicing Anthropology 20, no. 1 (Winter 1998): 23. George Lipsitz, “Working People’s Music,” in American Media and Mass Culture, ed. Donald Lazere (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1987): 293-308 provides a comprehensive summary of black working-class music. Roberta Freund Schwartz, “The Blues and the Development of the African American Working Class before World War II,” in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music and Social Class, ed. Ian Peddie (New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), 353–69 does as well. As does David M. Jones, “‘Bring It on Home’: Constructions of Social Class in Rhythm and Blues and Soul Music, 1949–1980,” in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music and Social Class, ed. Ian Peddie (New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), 465–85.

Andrew Flory, I Hear a Symphony: Motown and Crossover R&B (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2017).

George Bohanon and George White, Boss: Bossa Nova (Jazz Workshop, 1963).

Brian Felix, “Wes Montgomery’s A Day In the Life: The Anatomy of a Jazz-Pop Crossover Album,” Jazz Times 8, no. 3 (2014): 237–58.

While its appeal across race is not in doubt, scholars writing about Motown struggle to pinpoint its class-appeal. Mark Anthony Neal writes how, when Motown Records moved all its operations from Detroit to Los Angeles in 1972, the label “severed its connections with working class concerns.” See “Sold out on Soul: The Corporate Annexation of Black Popular Music,” Popular Music & Society 21, no. 3 (1997): 117. Yet, Robert Fink notes how Motown releases such as “Runaway Child, Running Wild” by The Temptations “concerned itself with family values of the middle class.” See “Goal-Directed Soul? Analyzing Rhythmic Teleology in American Popular Music,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 64, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 236. 

Charles D. Carson, “‘Bridging the Gap’: Creed Taylor, Grover Washington Jr., and the Crossover Roots of Smooth Jazz,” Black Music Research Journal 28, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 1–15.

Karl Hagstrom Miller, Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010).

Bryan McCann, illuminating the influence of the blues on bossa nova practitioners during the 1950s and 1960s, calls this “another side of bossa nova history.” See “Blues and Samba: Another Side of Bossa Nova History.”

Amiri Baraka, for instance, has suggested that by the 1960s, hard bop distanced itself from what he calls “blues people.” He went so far to call hard bop “mood music for Negro colleges.” See Blues People (New York, NY: William Morrow, 1963), 235. Bruce Barnhart, “LeRoi Jones, Jazz, and the Resonance of Class,” in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music and Social Class, ed. Ian Peddie (New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), 335–52 offers a complex analysis of Barak’s assessment of jazz and class. While Baraka discredited hard bop, Barnhart notes how the author championed Miles Davis’ “Walkin’,” a prototypical hard bop record, due to Davis’ anti-assimilationist orientation.

Several scholars find little value in focusing on class as a theoretical line of inquiry within black communities. John L. Jackson, in his contemporary study of Harlem, notes that “people’s lives and behaviors don’t necessarily make sense in terms of middle classes, underclasses, or even carefully measured working classes.” See Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 94. Similarly, sociologist Monique M. Taylor claims that the lives of Harlem residents cannot “be explained by a differentiated black class structure.” See Harlem between Heaven and Hell (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2002), 176.


When Bossa Had Soul: Funk, Soul Food, and Marketing Brazilian Music for the Black Working Class

[10] Of all the techniques that record labels used to market bossa nova as music rooted in African American culture, their use of words like “groove” and “funk” to explain the sound of their bossa nova occurred quite frequently. Such marketing decisions have precedent. Columbia Records originally did not consider marketing Miles Davis’ fusion records to a black audience. However, Davis urged them to forefront African American aesthetics, primarily by focusing on black bodies in the cover art of his albums.           Record labels selling bossa nova adopted similar tactics.          Thanks to the use of such marketing techniques, labels strove to ensure that consumers understood these releases in relation to the blues, soul, and rhythm and blues. Sometimes this language dated back to Africa. The term “funk,” for instance, in jazz parlance, comes from the Ki-Kongo lu-fuki, which refers to a positive “smell” or energy.          Other times, language adopted from black church life played a prominent role as record labels and musicians adopted words like “moanin’” to describe musical qualities.          For instance, in magazine articles, Blue Note Records advertised saxophonist Ike Quebec’s album, Soul Samba Bossa Nova, as “the grooviest bossa nova album on Blue Note."          Likewise, in the album’s liner notes, Quebec further explained the album’s sound, stating that “I had been listening around and I liked what some of the jazz musicians were doing with this thing. But I decided I wanted to put more grease to it, more of a blues feeling, more sensuality . . . We were moanin’ more than most of the others who play ‘bossa nova.’ We made it soft – and soulful."          Jazz critic Leonard Feather, writing the liner notes to guitarist Kenny Burrell’s Blue Note release, Midnight Blue, likewise highlighted the prevalence of a blues aesthetic in Burrell’s playing. “Each number is somehow different from the rest,” Feather wrote, “yet all have that indefinable quality that can be best summed up in words as a down-home blues feeling. And where, you may ask, does down home mean? Rio? [referencing track 1, a bossa nova titled ‘Chitlins con Carne’] Madrid? Minton’s? Or Detroit? … you might say that it is all these places and more."          Such labels and musicians wanted to ensure that the language used to describe their bossa nova recordings – language that relied on terms such as “grease,” “moanin,” “soulful,” “down home,” and “groove” – signaled bossa nova’s proximity to African American culture.


[11] Labels releasing hard bop bossa nova records also relied on a rhetorical device that compared bossa nova to soul food, an aspect of working-class black culture that also appealed to middle class African Americans. The term “soul food” originated in the North during the 1960s but had its roots in African cuisine that was transformed under the conditions of slavery.           In the Antebellum South, enslaved people typically ate vegetables and legumes familiar to residents of West and Central Africa (black eyed peas, pigeon peas, and okra), a series of greens (collard greens and dandelions), and the leftovers of meat that slave owners did not eat (chitterlings and ham hocks). During the early twentieth century, Southern migrants moving to the North during the Great Migration would often bring their culinary traditions with them, upsetting the black middle-class residents of cities such as Chicago, who found Southern working-class cuisine unrefined and unrespectable.          However, in time, the black middle-class began to embrace what would later be called “soul food” and, during the 1960s, even promoted such food in an effort to distance themselves from the white culture and align themselves more with the entire African American community.

4 (Winter 2007): 81–97.

[12] Several liner notes, cover art, and album and song titles to bossa nova albums contained explanations of musicians as “soul food” cooks and their music as akin to plates of food that their mother or grandmother would make back home. For instance, organist Freddie Roach explained in his evocatively titled album Mo’ Greens Please (which featured a bossa nova titled “Nada Bossa”) that he “tried to provide some culinary in the tradition of grits and gravy, hot biscuits, or that other tradition, hogs maws.” In his album’s liner notes, Roach continued with the cooking analogy: “the chefs Kenny Burrell, Eddie Wright, Conrad Lester, Clarence Johnson keep the pots going at all times. (Eddie Wright and Conrad Lester are new to the Blue Note kitchen but are regular members of my working unit.)” In case the liner notes were not clear enough, Blue Note released Roach’s LP with a photograph taken by famed photographer and graphic designer Reid Miles, which depicted Roach being served a plate of, presumably, collard greens.               Other releases by Blue Note also made connections between bossa nova and soul food. Kenny Burrell’s, “Chitlin’ con Carne,” for instance, alludes to the song’s mixture of Brazilian/Latin (“carne”) elements with foodways of the American South and black working class (“chitterlings”). Prestige Records, another label that specialized in hard bop recordings, made some of the more overt connections between soul food and bossa nova. Producer Ozzie Cadena, writing the liner notes to Willis Jackson’s Bossa Nova Plus, remarked how guitarist Kenny Burrell “adds a little more of the easy grits with his presence,” while pianist “Tommy Flanagan is, as always, tasty. He can really get into something, no matter what the flavor.” In a final analogy, Cadena noted that percussionists “Montego Jo and Juan Amalbert … get the afro roots out and into the pot where it means something."           In all these examples, liner notes, album titles, song titles, and album covers made implicit and explicit connections between soul food and bossa nova – and by extension bossa nova and the black working class.


[13] Interestingly, this marketing decision to rely on the aesthetic and social appeal of “soul food” existed alongside other attempts to market bossa nova with food-based imagery. Largely to help distinguish themselves from those who dined at stuffy upper-class French restaurants and unbecoming lower-class taverns and saloons, middle-class Americans had been enjoying foreign cuisine since the turn of the century. They promoted and frequented Chinese, German, and Italian restaurants to embrace cosmopolitan ideals and to distinguish themselves from both the higher and lower classes.          The liner notes to Dave Pike’s Bossa Nova Carnival captured this middle-class interest in culinary cosmopolitanism when the notes explained that Pike’s music “captured a real South American flavor."            Flavor, in this instance, operates as a synonym for musical feel, style, or genre. However, it also suggests that Pike’s album elicits the taste of Brazil. The Tides’ Best of the Bossa Nova even went so far as to suggest that bossa nova could change the flavor palate of Americans just as Marco Polo, returning with his “spices from the East,” changed the flavor palate of Europeans during the thirteenth century.          Just by listening to albums Bossa Nova Carnival and Best of the Bossa Nova, Americans could experience Brazil not only with their sense of hearing, but with the sense of taste as well. 

[14] The sounds of several of these soul food-inspired bossa nova albums differed from albums like Dave Pike’s Bossa Nova Carnival or The Tides’ Best of the Bossa Nova, however. The former mostly took inspiration from the sounds of blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel music. Freddie Roach’s “Nada Bossa,” for instance, features the musician playing the organ ­over a 16-bar blues. The organ, as Roach notes in the liner notes himself, evoked the sounds of the black church, an explanation that refers to the instrument’s connotations with African American working-class culture, whether via the black church or the organ’s “dirty” (or funky) timbres.          Not every album adopted the organ, however, although most tended to adopt a 12-bar blues. Kenny Burrell’s “Chitlin’s con Carne,” for instance, features Burrell’s electric guitar over a vamp-heavy blues form. Music critics seemingly heard such recordings and made connections between the sonic aesthetics and soul food. In a review of Roach’s Mo’ Greens Please, a Billboard reviewer exclaimed “here’s some more of that fine down-home organ and tenor sax cookin’."          Cash Box likewise described Kenny Burrell’s 1966 single for Cadet Records, “Hot Bossa,” as “smooth, easy jazz with a strong blues flavor."           Similarly, Billboard, in a reference to albums like Lotsa Bossa Nova!, Midnight Blue, and Bossa Nova Bacchanal, reported that “guitarist Kenny Burrell and saxist Charlie Rouse have both entered new areas of popularity with bossa nova and funky blues material."          Everything – from the musicians’ adaptation of the organ and blues forms to the way critics described their music – placed bossa nova within a context of “down home” and “funky” music.


[15] While record labels and critics helped solidify the connections between bossa nova and African American culture, the advertising of various events suggests the prevalence of bossa nova music within working-class communities and leisure circles. For one week in late February 1963, Ralph Cooper, the famous master of ceremonies at the Apollo Theater hosted a “rock show with a bossa nova beat.” The acts included “the fabulous Pacheco bossa nova band,” Crystals & Orlons, Dells-Crests & Jan Bradley, and Mongo Santamaria. On Monday and Tuesday, the Apollo even hosted a “bossa nova contest."          The advertisement did not specify, but “the fabulous Pacheco bossa nova band” probably refers to Johnny Pacheco, the famous Dominican-American bandleader who specialized in pachanga, son, salsa, cha-cha-chá, and other Latin (Hispanophone) styles. Despite his strength in Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban music, by February 1963 Pacheco also had experience playing in bossa nova contexts, playing percussion on two songs from Herbie Mann’s Right Now, “O barquinho” and “Manhã de carnaval.” He also played on pop-rock artist Eydie Gormé’s Blame it on the Bossa Nova. Even Mango Santamaria had some experience playing bossa nova as well by the time the “rock show with a bossa nova beat” took place. According to Jesse H. Walker, columnist for the New York Amsterdam News, readers could “catch the bossa nova” at the club Birdland, where Mongo Santamaria’s Afro-Latin jazz orchestra was performing on October 13, 1962. 


[16] As the show at the Apollo suggests, Harlem was a neighborhood where working-class African Americans would encounter bossa nova. However, imagine just walking a bit east into Spanish Harlem. You would have seen bossa nova brush up against New York’s residents from Hispanophone Latin America. Nothing captures this relationship more perfectly than the 1964 film, The Pawnbroker. In this film, composer Quincy Jones, working with director Sidney Lumet, uses his original 1962 composition, “Soul Bossa Nova,” to contrast the lives of Sol Nazerman, a Holocaust survivor who owns a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, and Jesus Ortiz, his determined and insistent Puerto Rican employee. In one scene, Lumet juxtaposes the admiration and vitality with which Ortiz and his girlfriend have for one another with the loveless and empty relationship between Nazerman and the widow of his friend who died back in Germany. Jones scores the misery with which Nazerman lives his life with literal silence while quick cuts to Ortiz and his girlfriend lying on a bed feature Jones’s non-diegetic bossa nova music. To a large extent, Jones associates bossa nova music with the care-free and amorous relationship between Ortiz and his girlfriend. Yet, they are also a couple engaged in an interracial black and Puerto Rican relationship, a couple who socialize in a cramped, working-class apartment, and a couple living amongst a diverse collection of Afro-Cubans, Jews, Puerto Ricans, and African Americans in Spanish Harlem. During the late 1960s, collaborations between black and Latin (often working-class Nuyorican) musicians created a new genre of music called boogaloo. Johnny Colón’s “Boogaloo Blues” from 1967 offers an example of this type of music that mixed funk, soul, and Latin claves and Latin-derived melodies.          Without diminishing the musical novelty and political power of boogaloo music, bossa nova served as an additional example of the type of fusion that occurred in the formation of boogaloo. The Pawnbroker offers such documentation.


[17] Yet, studying bossa nova’s presence in Atlanta also shows bossa nova’s appeal to a wide range of African American audiences: not just working-class ones. In one example, bossa nova was featured alongside a “chitterling supper” hosted by the Bossa Nova and Social Savings Club. Founded sometime in the summer of 1963, the social club hosted various parties and get togethers throughout Atlanta, which they promoted through the Atlanta Daily World, the oldest black newspaper in Atlanta. Most of these get togethers occurred at members’ homes predominantly located in the northwest neighborhoods of Grove Park and Hunter Hills. On December 7, 1963, they hosted a “chitterling supper” at 698 Church St., N.W.      Interestingly, this area of Atlanta was developed during the 1930s in conjunction with the New Deal-era Federal Housing Authority as a subdivision for Atlanta’s black elite.          That the Bossa Nova Social and Savings Club hosted a “chitterling dinner” offers further evidence of the black middle-class’s embrace of soul food during the 1960s. It also attests to the interrelationship between bossa nova and “soul food” during the 1960s.


[18] In another example from Atlanta, the Magnolia Ballroom hosted a “Thanksgiving Night Bossa Nova Special” in November 1964.           The advertisement gave no indication of who would be playing bossa nova. However, artists included rhythm and blues acts like Little Jr. Parker, Joe Hinton, “Johnny” Brown and his Band, and The Fiestas. Unlike the chitterling dinner in Hunter Hills, this bossa nova event took place at the Magnolia Ballroom on the corner of Sunset Avenue and Magnolia Street in Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood. Although Vine City and Hunter Hills were geographically close to one another, Vine City was home to a far less affluent group of African Americans. A 1967 report from Marcia L. Halvorsen, a white economics professor at nearby Spelman University, conducted a report of the neighborhood and called it a “negro slum ghetto within the city of Atlanta."          Halvorsen adopts rather regrettable language to describe a vibrant neighborhood that hosted not only a prominent rhythm and blues club like the Magnolia Ballroom but also housed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who moved to the neighborhood in 1967. Nevertheless, the rest of her report, which she submitted to the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, documents an economic and educational status that differs from more affluent black neighborhoods like those found in Hunter Hills. In any case, the presence of bossa nova at such an event alludes to, at the very least, its acceptance and endorsement by members of Atlanta’s rhythm and blues and soul fans.

[1] “Thanksgiving Night Bossa Nova Special,” Atlanta Daily World, November 22, 1964, 3.

[19] Bossa nova’s popularity on jukeboxes also attests to the genre’s popularity amongst diverse audiences. In Chicago, clientele listened to jukeboxes in upper-class spaces such as the Palmer’s Pub, in the Palmer House Hotel, as well as at the Astor Tower Hotel. There, patrons typically listened to the twist, cha-cha-chá, and bossa nova.           Unsurprisingly, several bossa nova records released featured the smooth aesthetics that catered to more middle-class sensibilities. In the summer of 1963, Seeburg rereleased special albums for the juke box programming, among them acoustic guitarist Laurindo Almeida’s Viva Bossa Nova!          Around the same time, the Music Operators Stereo Service, an industry-wide organization ran by the leading automatic phonograph manufacturers, united to release a promotion of five singles to distribute to Rock-Ola, Rowe-AMI, and Wurlitzer distributors. Line up for the pack of albums included singles by orchestra leader Joe Harnell (“Samba de uma nota só”/I Left My Heart in San Francisco”) and big band leader Enoch Light (“Rio Junction”/“Take the ‘A’ Train”). Both singles contained bossa nova that featured lush instrumentation and stereophonic sound.          Some artists popular on jukeboxes recorded bossa nova in a way that merged the blues with light orchestral arrangements. Organist Shirley Scott’s “I Can’t Get Over the Bossa Nova,” popular with juke box operators during late 1965 and early 1966, offers an example of bossa nova recorded in a soulful and bluesy style that could cross over and appeal to a more middle-class demographic. 


[20] Despite bossa nova’s popularity on juke boxes in upper class locales, an analysis of some juke box singles reveals the extent to which some musicians performed bossa nova in a way that engulfed their recordings in blues aesthetics. Jukeboxes often existed in taverns and other small establishments frequented by working-class clientele and the music recorded for these contexts often features salient African American musical characteristics.     While Seeburg’s’ “little LPs” – released specifically for jukebox play – included the soft sounds of Laurindo Almeida, they also included guitarist Freddie King’s blues heavy Bossa Nova & Blues.          One track off the album, “The Bossa Nova Watusi Twist,” adopts a twelve-bar blues form, bearing similarities to other songs such as Kenny Burrell’s “Chitlins con Carne.” Additionally, King plays his guitar with a lot of gain, giving his instrument a crunchy timbre. The Treniers, a rhythm and blues and jump blues group, adopted a similar approach to King in their recording, “After Hours Bossa Nova.” The recording revolves around a twelve-bar blues form. However, it spotlights the piano and flute instead of electric guitar. The single also captures a “live recording” feel as members of the band introduce the title track and audibly voice their pleasure. Behind piano tremolos and blues licks, listeners can hear shouts of “ahhs” and encouragements to “get the party, y’all,” a move that engulfs the listener in the social performance.                   The Trenier’s adaptation of such recording techniques seemed to pay off: Hermitage Productions, a production company based in Nashville, Tennessee noted that “After Hours Bossa Nova” was “breaking all over” the South.          Recording bossa nova live full of gritty timbres and blues forms and harmonies seemed to appeal to the aesthetic preferences of jukebox listeners.


[21A discussion of bossa nova released on notable rock and roll, blues, and rhythm and blues record labels also illuminates bossa nova’s interrelation with African American culture. Vee-Jay, a Chicago-based record label known for releasing blues, doo wop, and rhythm and blues, provides an example of such a label. Founded in 1953 by a black couple from nearby Gary, Indiana, Vee-Jay’s first major release came from the rhythm and blues and doo wop group, the Spaniels, “Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite.” Regular appearance on their catalogue included Lightnin’ Hopkins and John Lee Hooker.           However, Vee-Jay also released several bossa nova tracks, notably the 45 RPM “Night River Bossa Nova” by Guy Parnell and Nite Beats, Eddie Harris’ album, Bossa Nova, a discotheque-themed LP by Mongo Jones titled The Most Requested Dances at Your Home Tonight, and Swanee Stanton’s bossa nova “Tell Me More.


[22Chess Records, but more accurately its subsidiary Argo, offers another example of a record label specializing in rock and roll and blues that also released bossa nova music. Formed in 1947 by Polish immigrants Leonard and Phil Chess, Chess Records developed a reputation for recording some of the country’s finest Chicago blues and early rock and roll. The label’s first hit came from guitarist Muddy Waters, whose 1948 release, “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” sold out in a day. Over the 1950s, Chess recorded several other blues musicians, notably Howlin’ Wolf, as well as rock and roll artists who bridged the divide between rock and blues, specifically Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry.

[23Beginning in 1962, Argo began to play a role in disseminating bossa nova to its clientele, thanks in large part to the work of Argo producer, A&R man, and supervisor, Esmond Edwards. Edwards’s record industry life began at Prestige Records, where he worked as one of the few African American photographers in the industry and produced the album art to records such as Miles Davis’ Workin’ and John Coltrane’s Coltrane and Soultrane.          In time, he also became a producer and A&R man at Prestige. In October 1962, Edwards moved to Argo.          While there, he brought the soul-based sound for which Prestige was known, as well as the blues and rock and roll influences of Argo that found the basis of Chess Records, and merged them with the new sounds of bossa nova. After his arrival, Argo began to release records like Clarence “Gene” Shaw’s Carnival Sketches, Sam Lazar’s Soul Merchant, Illinois Jacquet’s The Message, Herman Foster’s Ready and Willing, Don Goldie’s Trumpet Caliente, Ramsey Lewis’ At the Bohemian Caverns, Ahmad Jamal’s Macanudo, Rune Offerman’s Cool, and Ramsey Lewis’ Bossa Nova and At the Bohemian Caverns, and The Dell’s single 45-RPM, “Bossa Nova Bird/Eternally” – all of which featured bossa nova cuts.


[24Yet, in another example of the heterogeneity of bossa nova, the aesthetics of these Argo records varied wildly. Argo included smoother sounds in their catalogue. Some of Argo’s recordings, such as Shaw’s “Cha Bossa” and Jamal’s “Bossa Nova do Marilla” featured the soulful arrangements (typically featuring strings) of in-house Chess arranger Richard Evans.          This music, which mixed jazz with strings and mood music trends, did not sound too dissimilar from the type of music playing in suburban supermarkets and living rooms across the United States.          Argo also recorded bossa nova performed by doo-wop groups like The Dells which appealed to a more middle-class clientele.           Founded in Harvey, Illinois, The Dells got their first break in 1955, recording “Oh What a Night” for the famous rhythm and blues label, Vee-Jay. It sold an estimated million copies. In 1962, they achieved success again, recording their single “The (Bossa Nova) Bird” with Argo. “The (Bossa Nova) Bird” did not achieve the success that their debut did, but it lived up to the expectations that The Dells had set for themselves. It debuted on Cash Box’s rhythm and blues charts on December 15 where it stayed for four weeks, peaking at No. 38.


[25] Records like The Dells “The (Bossa Nova) Bird” joined a catalogue of other sensuous-sounding doo-wop releases on other labels. In 1963, The Five Satins, a doo-wop group from New Haven released their bossa nova single “Remember Me.” A year later, The Tymes, a vocal group from Philadelphia, released “The Magic of Summer Love/With All My Heart,” a record that featured bossa nova on both its A- and B-sides. Many of these doo wop songs showcased the same “smoothness” that characterized the sound of Richard Evans’ soulful, string-laden arrangements for Cadet. “Remember Me” spotlights the glassy timbre of a celeste piano. “The Magic of Summer Love” not only features the celeste but begins with harp glissandi as well. Both songs featured a bossa nova drum pattern coursing through the background.


[26However, several Argo releases, notably Sam Lazar’s “Happy Bossa Nova,” Illinois Jacquet’s “Like Young,” and Ramsey Lewis’s “A felicidade” embraced a different aesthetic, eschewing lush orchestration and instead fore fronting timbres like the electric organ. In this way, they resembled the sound Freddie Roach captured on “Nada Bossa.” Some also spotlighted the sounds the African diaspora. A brief look at percussionist Carmen Costa’s playing on Ramsey Lewis’s Argo release, Bossa Nova, demonstrates how. Costa was born in the state of Rio de Janeiro in 1920 and maintained a relatively successful singing career in the 1940s. Despite not being a part of Brazil’s bossa nova inner circle during the 1950s, she nevertheless found herself singing an original composition, “Bossa Nova York,” at the Carnegie Hall concert on November 21, 1962. She had debuted “Bossa Nova York” earlier that year when she went to the Regent Sound Studios with Lionel Hampton to record Bossa Nova Jazz. Additionally, she had sung “Pergunte ao João” on Dizzy Gillespie’s New Wave! session in May. However, except for her performance at Carnegie Hall, and at sessions with Hampton, Gillespie, and some others, she never contributed to any bossa nova album as a singer.          Instead, she was credited on percussion, specifically playing the shaker, where she, alongside conguero “Patato” Valdes, contributed to the Herbie Mann’s African and Afro-Cuban-inspired bossa nova record, Brazil, Bossa Nova, and Blues. Throughout Lewis’s Bossa Nova, she fulfilled a similar role, playing percussion alongside percussionist José Paulo and drummer Isaac ‘Redd’ Holt, spotlighting the timbres of Africa within these bossa nova albums. 


[27] In addition to charting the presence of bossa nova on labels such as Vee-Jay and Argo, reports in industry magazines attest to bossa nova’s popularity amongst rhythm and blues fans. Nick Biro’s regular column in Billboard titled “R&B Roundup” mentioned that promoters, distributors, and executives were “hot about” Cannonball’s Bossa Nova, and a single by The Cal’s, an instrumental rhythm and blues group, called “Amazon Bossa Nova."          Hard bop musicians like Cannonball Adderley specifically did well with rhythm and blues fans as songs like “Jive Samba” topped the charts on K-ZAM (FM), Seattle’s only 24-hour r&b station.          It also stayed atop Cash Box’s Top 50 R&B Singles Charts for a couple of months in early 1963. Freddie King’s album, Bossa Nova & Blues, even received a mention on Billboard’s “rhythm and blues spotlight."          Gene Ammons’ Bad! Bossa Nova specifically appealed to fans of rhythm and blues and received rave reviews. Prestige Records reported “strong r&b action” on the album and remarked how it was “one of the first bossa nova sides to make it into the rhythm and blues idiom."          Critic Jack Maher likewise noted how “in Ammons, who has always been a strong and steady seller, the bossa nova supporters in the trade believe they may have a big album that will break the new rhythm in jazz-oriented, r&b areas."          Musicians did not just record bossa nova that incorporated African American aesthetics. They sold it as well.  

[28] Something about the bossa nova recorded by artists like Ike Quebec, Freddie Roach, Kenny Burrell, Willis Jackson, Freddie King, The Treniers, and Gene Ammons certainly tells an overlooked story of bossa nova. However, what’s the more canonical side of bossa nova history? Ask your Amazon Alexa or Google Home to “play bossa nova.” Chances are you will not hear the soulful, bluesy, gritty sounds of such artists. Instead, you will hear a softer, gentler sound presented by artists such as GRAMMY-winners Frank Sinatra, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, and Stan Getz. Data from Music ID shows that in 2019, Getz/Gilberto spent 90 weeks on Apple Music’s Daily Top Jazz Charts (likely because of the news coverage of João Gilberto’s passing that year.) Seemingly forgotten amongst twenty-first century listeners, however, is the single “Bossa Nova Baby,” originally released by the rhythm and blues group Tippie & The Clovers and later recorded by Elvis Presley. And what about rhythm and blues singer Vernon Harrell’s love song, “Little Joe?” Or any one of the numerous bossa nova songs by the GRAMMY-nominated group Ruby and the Romantics?  (Examples include “Our Day Will Come,” “Day Dreaming,” and “Young Wings Can Fly [Higher Than You Know.])” In 1963, Bill Doggett released a tenor sax-heavy bossa nova cover of his 1956 rhythm and blues instrumental “Honky Tonk.” Then there was “Bossa Nova Blues” by singer Doris Troy, known by her fans as “Mama Soul.” Ben E. King (of “Stand by Me” fame) recorded a bossa nova titled “I Could Have Danced All Night.” And of course, you can’t forget about “Baby, Don’t You Cry” by Ray Charles (yes, that Ray Charles) or “Keep Your Eye on Love” by Ernestine Anderson, Charles’ occasional collaborator when both artists lived in Seattle. A discussion of bossa nova that does not include such songs risks, at minimum, whitewashing the genre. Rock suffered from this. Musicians and members of the press alike helped contribute to myths about rock and roll that cast aside black innovators to the genre and heralded white musicians as the inheritors of a blues and rock idiom.          Something similar has happened to bossa nova. And until that Spotify playlist includes Ernestine Anderson’s “Keep Your Eye on Love” in its “best of bossa nova playlist,” you might be better off walking into a high school jazz rehearsal to hear this aspect of bossa nova’s history.

Jeremy A. Smith, “‘Sell It Black’: Race and Marketing in Miles Davis’s Early Fusion Jazz,” Jazz Perspectives 4, no. 1 (2010): 7–33.

Several other examples exist. S. Craig Watkins’ “‘Black Is Back, and It’s Bound to Sell!’ Nationalist Desire and the Production of Black Popular Culture,” in Is It Nation Time?: Contemporary Essays on Black Power and Black Nationalism, ed. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 189–214 similarly points out the pleasurable and problematic commercialization of black nationalist figures during the 1980s and 1990s.

“Selling Strong! Ike Quebec – Bossa Nova Soul Samba,” Cash Box, February 2, 1963, 34.

Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy (New York, NY: Random House, 1983), 104-105.

Charles E. DeBose, “African American Church Language,” in The Oxford Handbook of African American Language, ed. Jennifer Bloomquist, Lisa J. Green, and Sonja L. Lanehart (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015), 677–90.

Ike Quebec and Nat Hentoff, Bossa Nova Soul Samba (Blue Note, 1963).

Kenny Burrell and Leonard Feather, Midnight Blue (Blue Note, 1963).

Frederick Douglass Opie, Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2008).

Tracy N. Poe, “The Origins of Soul Food in Black Urban Identity: Chicago, 1915-1947,” American Studies International 37, no. 1 (February 199AD): 4–33

Laretta Henderson, “‘Ebony Jr!’ And ‘Soul Food’: The Construction of Middle-Class African American Identity through the Use of Traditional Southern Foodways,” MELUS 32, no. 4 (Winter 2007): 81–97.

Freddie Roach, Mo’ Greens Please (Blue Note, 1963).

Willis Jackson and Ozzie Cadena, Bossa Nova Plus (Prestige, 1963).

Andrew P. Haley, “Restaurant Culture,” in The Routledge History of American Foodways, ed. Jennifer Jensen Wallach, Lindsey R. Swindall, and Michael D. Wise (New York, NY: Routledge, 2016), 214–32 and Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2011); Audrey Russek, “Appetites Without Prejudice: U.S. Foreign Restaurants and the Globalization of American Food Between the Wars,” Food and Foodways 191, no. 1–2 (2011): 34–55.

Dave Pike and Juliet Lorca, Bossa Nova Carnival (New Jazz, 1962).

The Tides, The Best of the Bossa Nova (Mercury, 1965).

Ted Gioia also notes that the organ “captured the essence of the jazz sensibility, exciting audiences with [its] unabashed vigor, much as King Oliver’s “dirty” cornet playing had done a generation earlier.” See The History of Jazz (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2021), 381.

“Jazz Spotlight: Freddie Roach - Mo’ Greens Please,” Billboard, July 20, 1963, 12.

“Best Bets: Kenny Burrell – Hot Bossa/Mother-In-Law,” Cash Box, October 22, 1966, 28.

“Blue Note Brings on Jazz Reserves,” Billboard, May 11, 1963, 50.

“The Ralph Cooper Show,” New York Amsterdam News, February 23, 1963, 17.

Walker, Jesse H., “Theatricals: Lalo Schifrin – Bossa Nova: New Brazilian Jazz,” New York Amsterdam News, October 13, 1962, 17.

Juan Flores, Salsa Rising: New York Latin Music of the Sixties Generation (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016), 117.

“Bossa Nova Club to Have a Chitterling Super Tonight,” Atlanta Daily World, December 7, 1963, 2.

Steven R. Holloway and Katherine Hankins, “Suburbanization and the Making of Atlanta as the ‘Black Mecca,’” in The Life of North American Suburbs, ed. Jan Nijman (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020), 228.

“Thanksgiving Night Bossa Nova Special,” Atlanta Daily World, November 22, 1964, 3.

Will Leonard, “Music to End a Column By,” Chicago Tribune, January 24, 1965, F12.

Marcia L. Halvorsen, “An Analysis and Interpretation of Data on the Social Characteristics of Residents of ‘Vine City’ – a Negro Slum Ghetto within the City of Atlanta, Chicago” (Atlanta, GA: Spelman College, June 15, 1967).

“Seeburg Adds Bossa Nova, C&W, Pop,” 62.

“MOSS Releases First Operator 5 -Pack,” Billboard, June 22, 1963, 44; “Wurlitzer 2700,” Billboard, June 22, 1963, 47.

“Juke Box OPS Record Guide: Shirley Scott Trio – Can’t Get Over the Bossa Nova,” Cash Box, December 25, 1965, 24.

Chris Rasmussen, “‘The People’s Orchestra’: Jukeboxes as the Measure of Popular Musical Taste in the 1930s and 1940s.” Furthermore, Rasmussen notes how jukebox operators felt that such machines “permitted working-class Americans in taverns and restaurants an unprecedented ability to register their musical preference,” 188.

Much of the following information about Chicago-based record labels can be found in Adam Green, Selling the Race: Culture, Community, and Black Chicago, 1940-1955 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 51–92.

“Recent Stereo Releases for Music Operators; Freddie King - Bossa Nova & Blues,” Billboard, June 22, 1963, 46.

Information about Edwards can be found in Johannes Voelz, “Looking Hip on the Square: Jazz, Cover Art, and the Rise of Creativity,” European Journal of American Studies 12, no. 4 (2017): 1–24, Victor Margolin, “American Jazz Album Covers in the 1950s and 1960s” (9th International Design History and Design Studies, Aveiro, Portugal, 2014), and Carissa Kowalski Dougherty, “The Coloring of Jazz: Race and Record Cover Design in American Jazz, 1950 to 1970,” Design Issues 23, no. 1 (Winter 2007): 47–60.

“Sold in South: The Fabulous Treniers - After Hours Bossa Nova/Lover Come Back to Me,” Billboard, May 4, 1963, 20.

Darren Mueller notes that by recording live on location, record labels “made it possible to encode a black sociality and the acoustics of its performative spaces into the vinyl grooves.” See “At the Vanguard of Vinyl: A Cultural History of the Long-Playing Record in Jazz” (Durham, NC, Duke University, 2015), 209. Guthrie P. Ramsey similarly calls such live performances “community theaters of everyday blackness” in Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004), 117. 

“Ozzie Cadena Heads A&R At Prestige,” Cash Box, October 20, 1962, 30; “Prestige Names Ozzie Cadena A&R Director; Signs Artists; Gene Ammons - Bad! Bossa Nova; David Pike - Bossa Nova Carnival,” Billboard, October 13, 1962, 8.

John Howland, “On Billboard, Isaac Hayes, and the ‘Swinging Relationship’ between Jazz and Its Popular Music Cousins, 1950–1973,” in The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies, ed. Nicholas Gebhardt, Nichole Rustin-Paschal, and Tony Whyton (New York, NY: Routledge, 2018), 114.

Philip M. Gentry, What Will I Be: American Music and Cold War Identity (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018).

John Howland discusses such music in detail. See Jazz with Strings: Between Jazz and the Great American Songbook,” in Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries, ed. David Ake, Charles Hiroshi Garrett, and Daniel Ira Goldmark (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2012), 111–47, “Marketing to the Middlebrow: Reconsidering Ellingtonia, the Legacy of Early Ellington Criticism, and the Idea of a ‘Serious’ Jazz Composer,” in Duke Ellington Studies, ed. John Howland (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 32–75, “Hearing Luxe Pop,” in The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music, ed. Robert Fink, Melinda Latour, and Zachary Wallmark (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018), 185–211, and “The Classy Populuxe Songbook,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 73, no. 2 (2020): 348–57. Much of this material culminates in Hearing Luxe Pop: Glorification, Glamour, and the Middlebrow in American Popular Music (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2021).

Costa's performance history raises questions about the role of female session musicians recording during the mid-twentieth century. Given her modestly successful history as a singer in Brazil, was her relegation to percussion performance – although credited – evidence of sexist and racist hiring practices in recording studios?

"R&B Roundup,” Billboard, June 29, 1963, 34.

Nick Biro, “R&B Roundup,” Billboard, February 23, 1963, 16.

“Rhythm & Blues Spotlight: Freddie King - Bossa Nova & Blues,” Billboard, March 23, 1963, 32.

Nick Biro, “R&B Roundup,” Billboard, February 2, 1963, 26.

Jack Hamilton, Just around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016).

Jack Maher, “Bossa Has No Step, But It Sure Has Lotsa Climb; Vince Guaraldi - Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus,” Billboard, November 17, 1962, 8.

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