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Bossa Nova

Influenced by West coast jazz, in the 1950s composer Antonio Carlos Jobim helped to form Bossa Nova, a new music that blended together gentle Brazilian rhythms and melodies with cool-toned improvising; the rhythms are usually played lightly as 3-3-4-3-3 with beats 1, 4, 7, 11, and 14 being accented during every two-bars (played in 8/4 time). Joao Gilberto's soothing voice perfectly communicated the beauty of Jobim's music. The late '50s film Black Orpheus helped introduce Jobim's compositions to an American audience. Other important early exponents of bossa nova were guitarist Charlie Byrd, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz (Byrd and Getz teamed up for the highly influential Jazz/Samba), and housewife-turned-singer Astrud Gilberto -- who, along with her husband (Joao) and Getz, made "The Girl From Ipanema" a huge hit. The very appealing bossa nova's popularity peaked in the mid-'60s, but it has remained a viable music style.