“Corcovado” (Composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim)
While Brazil has enjoyed its share of huge international pop music festivals, the country, without question, is most remembered as the source of Bossa Nova, the smooth, sensuous distillation of the samba, wrought by the composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim with his international mega-hit, "The Girl from Ipanema," written with Vinicius De Moraes, English lyric by Norman Gimbel.
The song became the catalyst for a whole new movement of Brazilian-inspired music. In the United States, the music was closely associated with jazz, especially after Stan Getz recorded this song with Brazilian Astrud Gilberto. It would be accurate to suggest that Jobim, with his wonderfully catchy and romantic music, helped turn the cultural spotlight on Brazil during the 50's and 60's when the bossa nova "craze" first took hold, only to go on to become established as a permanent part of the American musical landscape.
It has inspired and influenced several generations of performers, ranging from Sinatra to Sting, and beyond. Sinatra, in fact, was once quoted to the effect that "working with my good friend, Jobim, was an absolute joy. We were raised in different countries, but we share the same deep love and respect for great talent ... musicians, lyricists, composers and fellow singers."
To many of his friends, both here and in his native Brazil, Jobim is known affectionately as Tom.
Miles Davis and Gil Evans recorded "Corcovado" in 1962 as part of "a follow up” recording to their classic “Sketches of Spain.”
It didn’t work; and, Miles and Gil abandoned the Brazil project before its completion. They knew the concept didn’t work. While their classic “Sketches of Spain” was a labor of (Gil’s) love of Spanish music, “Quiet Nights” (“Corcovado’s" English title) was a Brazilian “manufacture” of the record label.
Miles and Gil started doing “Sketches of Spain”-type arrangements ... and knew it wasn’t working.
So, they stopped.
Moreover, Miles and Gil were recording before the famous November 1962 “Brazilian invasion” of Bossa Nova ... signaled by the Carnegie Hall concert of that month. So, Miles and Gil’s version of “Corcovado” from the 1962 recording didn’t reflect Bossa Nova.
Later, the record company added songs to the still-born project, and released the album as “Quiet Nights” ... something that deeply alienated Miles for some period of time from his record producer Teo Macero.
The album is one of the less stellar parts of the great Miles catalog.