Bossa nova—Brazil's "new wave"—was new in the mid-1950s, when it was developed by the songwriting team of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. Their traditional samba-canção ("samba-song," a slower and more lyrical version of samba) didn't raise many eyebrows until it got into the hands of João Gilberto. Gilberto's ability to mold this style through the counter-pull of his guitar and vocals created a sensation that's still going strong today, 50-some years later.

Great, but also a bit lazy. Brazil has a music industry almost as big as the U.S.'s, and it's constantly evolving and creating global impact. Still, most of America only knows one manifestation of Brazilian music, and that's bossa nova sung by João Gilberto. Imagine if the world knew Elvis Presley and nothing else of American music.

Gilberto got hooked on the guitar at the age of 14, and he soon made a name for himself playing with a local high-school band. At the same time, he was getting way too high on maconha (ganja) and driving his bandmates crazy by failing to show up for gigs. They kicked him out and he spent the next few years couch-surfing. He never paid for anything, he just played music and sparked intriguing conversations; Gilberto's intelligence is legendary.

In 1958 he got a lucky break and released Chega de Saudade, his first record and a great place to start appreciating his music. Most people are familiar with Gilberto's pairing with sax legend Stan Getz on the Getz/Gilberto and Jazz Samba albums that he recorded with Astrud Gilberto, his wife at the time and the mother of Bebel Gilberto. These, of course, gave us "Girl from Ipanema," which has become part of the global musical lexicon.

Within Brazilian music today, João is considered to have the finest phrasing ability of any musician ever recorded. He is revered by some of the biggest artists in the current Brazilian scene: Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Maria Bethania all pay homage to him.

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His daughter Bebel Gilberto is coming to the Showbox on September 10 with support from the Brooklyn-based Forro in the Dark, who blew me away at the Winter Music Conference in Miami. Like her parents, Bebel has been making great strides in music. Working with diverse producers such as Suba, Amon Tobin, and Holland's Arling and Cameron, she's made three compelling, million-selling records that reside in the collection of every hipster I know.

DJ Darek Mazzone hosts Wo' Pop every Tues from 6–9 pm on KEXP.