ASTRUD GILBERTO



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The following is a transcript of an informal interview that took place in late 2002.  Four of Astrud Gilberto's friends took turns in posing questions to her.  It had been agreed that questions of personal nature were to be avoided, and that Astrud could at any time refuse to answer, although Astrud never felt the need to exercise that "right", as she actually enjoyed very much participating in this interview, and was happy to answer all questions.

In addition to this first transcript, which we are calling "INTERVIEW PART ONE", we are also posting an "INTERVIEW PART TWO", which actually contains answers to many of the questions most frequently asked by Astrud's fans, some amplification on some key subjects already contained on this website, as well as some clarifications on a few untruthful rumors and inaccurate data occasionally written about her, which have been observed by her management.


INTERVIEW WITH ASTRUD GILBERTO - PART ONE


Mark: I read that you haven't given an interview in almost 20 years. Why is that?

AG: Oh, combination of factors… First, a general disillusionment with the fact that so often my words have been distorted, omitted, "edited", taken out of context, or misinterpreted. When I first started singing, I gave interviews, and often I would get upset when I would see the final product, but, also an important factor is that I truly do not like to talk about my private life, and too often would find myself in the unpleasant situation of being asked questions about my private life.

The interesting phenomena that puzzles me in today's "pop oriented" culture is that whenever an artist chooses to guard their personal life and conduct themselves with discretion, this artist is invariably labeled "eccentric", or a "recluse", or "difficult". Take for example, Johnny Carson, who happens to be someone I truly admire for his outstanding, brilliant and dignified work on television. He has been able to accomplish the difficult task of guarding his privacy and that of his family members from journalists and from the public at large, while at the same time enjoying extreme popularity, although at the price of occasionally being accused of being a "recluse" or "eccentric".

Carol: But even if you don't give interviews, people still write about you. Does that concern you?

AG: Yes, and no. Once in a while, I accidentally become aware of things that have been written about me, and when that happens, more often than not, I find that what they have written about me is inaccurate (at best) and then, of course, I get a bit upset. However, by choice, I don't read anything that is written about me. All of my friends, management, family members and musicians that have worked with me know to keep stuff written about me from me.

Jeff: But doesn't the curiosity get the best of you? Do you really not want to know?

AG: Sure, there's a bit of curiosity, but I made up my mind a long time ago, not to read any articles or reviews about myself, as a matter of self-preservation. When I used to read them, I would sometimes be hurt by a "bad review" that would criticize me for an unfair reason. Even "good ones" would sometimes cause me to be frustrated, if they liked me for the "wrong" reason, or gave out false or inaccurate information along with the review.

Linda: What about your true fans? The people who truly love you and your work, do you feel guilty that you don't give them information about yourself?

AG: No, not at all. My profound respect and love for my fans is expressed in the way I have always given the best of myself on stage, and on recordings. I am so incredibly serious about my work that in order to give the best of me to my audiences, I have never measured efforts or even sacrifices. I believe, however, that this is where my "debt" ends. I firmly believe that any artist who becomes famous through their work (be it music, motion pictures or any other) does not have any moral obligation to satisfy the curiosity of journalists, fans or any members of the public about their private lives, or anything else that does not have any direct reflection on their work. My work, whether perceived as good, bad, or indifferent, speaks for itself.

I do resent the fact that because of my high regard for my privacy, I have been labeled by an occasional frustrated journalist as "a recluse". The dictionary clearly defines recluse as "a person who withdraws from the world to live in seclusion and often in solitude". Why should anybody assume that just because an artist chooses not to give interviews, he/she is a recluse? Certainly, not the case with me; in fact, quite to the contrary! Although I have never liked large social gatherings and giving interviews, and I do guard my privacy as much as possible, I do cherish any opportunity to gather with any of my friends or family members, and nothing makes me happier than spending a few hours chatting with them, or having them come over to my house so that I can cook for them. I communicate with my friends, family and acquaintances by e-mail or telephone on daily basis, you guys know that!

Mark: When you say you don't like to talk about your "personal life", I suppose you are referring to talking about family members, romantic liaisons and/or describing in detail personal experiences. I'm sure most of your fans will respect your right to be discreet about these subjects. All things considered, I think it is great that you have agreed to answer questions and to express your opinions on different social issues; can you explain to us why it is  that you decided to agree to that?

AG: Sure, that's not too difficult to explain. When I used to give interviews, those were the types of questions that I did not mind responding to. However, ninety percent of the times when I had been interviewed, my views on social issues were not the sort of things that journalists would ask. They want to know "juicy" stuff about your private life, or boring details about my career.

So, when my son Greg suggested that I do a "safeguarded" interview with questions asked by you guys, my trusted friends, I decided to agree. In either case, I don't view this as a "big deal", because to be honest with you, and without any false modesty, I doubt if there's anything really "valuable" that I could say. What difference could my point of view possibly make in a world where so much is said and written about everything, on a daily basis? If anything, I believe that maybe too much is being said! (laughs) Sometimes I find it hard to believe how many people are expressing their views on TV these days, and how egotistically some of them try to impose their views on others. I have no desire to jump on that wagon. Hey, but here we are. I agreed to do it, so, let's do it!

Carol: I understand what you're saying, but for the moment, let's assume that it would make your fans happy to know a little bit about how you perceive the world. Knowing you a little bit, myself, I dare say that you're a very opinionated person. Once we get started, I would not be surprised if you would really get "with it". (laughs)

AG: I guess you're right. Before we know it, you'll be telling me "Okay, Astrud, enough is enough"… Yeah, It might even be fun, so let's get started! Go ahead, Jeff, it's your turn to speak.

Jeff: Okay! What is your general "take" on religion? Do you have one?

AG: I believe and am attracted to spirituality. I do not have a religion per se, in a sense that I do not ascribe to any particular organized religion. I am receptive to the basic philosophy of Christianity, although I do not ascribe to the "rules and regulations" as defined by any of its ramifications, be it Catholicism, Protestantism, or any other "isms". But, all in all, I perceive myself as very spiritual.

Linda: Can you give us an idea of what you mean when you say that you believe in spirituality?

AG: Sure. I believe in the existence of the soul and in its immortality. I have a sense that there are probably more than one "incarnation"; I believe in the existence of spiritual forces/entities that are present in some mysterious realm, you know, the one that we usually refer to as "out there". I believe in the power of prayer, although this could very well be a separate issue altogether, meaning that it may involve also the power of positive thinking, which in itself might belong to a category better described as "intellectual", as opposed to spiritual.

Mark: So, I guess you also believe in God, do you?

AG: Of course I do! I prefer to call it the "Life Force", because I'm not inclined to believe in the "personalized" visualization of a God with human qualities, as most religions suggest God is. I believe that there's a Creator, of immeasurable and mysterious wisdom and perfection. I believe in the philosophical concept of "Cosmic Justice". However, I do not attempt to explain in details how the Creator "works", nor how Cosmic Justice functions. I just know in my heart that they are "there" and that is good enough for me. I am at peace with the notion that certain things of the spiritual realm are a mystery, and that this is the way they are supposed to be.

Carol: When you say you believe in the existence of some form of "Cosmic Justice", do you mean, "karma"?

AG: I'll be honest with you: I don't know enough about Hinduism and Buddhism to actually say that I am well aware of all aspects of the original karma concept. But, I do remember once having looked up in the dictionary the meaning of the word. It is described as "the total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the person's existence, which has bearing on a person's destiny". That seems fair enough to me. In short, I do believe in karma, although again I'm not inclined to assign rules and regulations as to how exactly it is suppose to work. I just have a general sense of acceptance that yes there is karma, meaning that what happens to us is influenced by the cause/effect principle of our own actions, most likely dating back to our soul's previous incarnations.

Jeff: How preoccupied are you with spiritual matters?

AG: Oh, very much so! On daily basis! One of the most meaningful things I've heard is a statement by Deepak Chopra that we are "spiritual beings that have occasional bodily experiences", and not the other way around. My main preoccupation when it comes to spirituality is of trying to perfect what I perceive as spiritual qualities such as kindness, generosity, selflessness, lack of greed, humbleness, and things like that. So, I "work" at it. I am constantly trying to be better.

Linda: Okay, let me pick-up on that. Give me an example of things about yourself that you have struggled with in order to "better yourself".

AG: Umm… I guess I would have to say curbing down on my tendency to be impulsive, or to be impatient. These have been described as "Arian" attributes. But, I am also perseverant, and have used this also "Arian" quality to work on the correcting. My sincere efforts to better myself combined with perseverance have had pretty good results!…

Mark: That's terrific, Astrud, I congratulate you on your tenacity in being your own spiritual "coach". (laughs) Let's move on to another subject, then. Astrud, who are your idols?

AG: Let me see… In the music field, in terms of having had an influence on the way I perceive music, I would have to say Joao Gilberto and Chet Baker; maybe I could include also Jobim. I am using the word "idol" here, just to indicate that they have had a musical influence on me. As persons, or "role models", I am not prepared to discuss them.

Now, if you want to add a few people that I admire for their work in music, I would also mention Gil Evans, Bill Evans, Djavan, Pat Metheny, Donald Fagan, Ivan Lins, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitsgerald, Frank Sinatra, Michael Franks, Edmundo Gismonti, Chicago, Kenny Rankin, Santana,Yes, Steely Dan,Yellow Jackets, the vocal groups Boca Livre and The New York Voices, Quincy Jones, Don Sebesky, Deodato, Eliane Elias… I like Ray Charles, Carole King, Burt Bacharach, and Sting; these are some examples. By the way, these names were uttered in no intentional order. Oh, Rachmaninov and Debussy, also.

Carol: So, outside of the music field, is there any other idol in your life?

AG: Yeah, sure. My "main" idol is Dr. Wayne Dyer! He has been one of the stronger influences in my life and in the way I try to conduct myself. The first book I read by him, "Your Erroneous Zones", was a mark in my life. There was me before reading it, and a better-me after reading it. It was as if Dr. Dyer, with his words of wisdom, had thrown a life saving device to me to hang on to, when I was drowning. I had been until then, a victim of my own unassertiveness, which was such a major obstacle to my happiness and also had such negative influence on my sense of self-esteem. Until then, I was, in relationship to the events in my life, like a "leaf in the wind", as in not at all in control of things that, by all means, I should have been in control of.

Jeff: What an interesting revelation this is! I had no idea. Did you ever meet him?

AG: No, I didn't. I could have tried, by means of "word of mouth", to make a connection with something or someone that would lead me to meeting him, but I left it up to "fate", instead. Maybe one day I will meet him. If that should happen, I will kiss his hand, and thank him profusely!

Linda: In that vein of subject, what would you say are important factors in how a person should conduct their lives?

AG: I would say, first: develop a sense of self-importance (in a healthy way), meaning do not allow the criticism of others to dictate how you should regard your self-worth. Live your life and conduct yourself always being true to the inner voice of wisdom that resides within your soul (God?). Second: obey the laws of the country and of the state that you live in. As much as it may sound over simplistic to say that, this is a sine qua non condition for you to be able to live in a way that would permit you to achieve your maximum potential as a human being! Third: be very careful in choosing a career (a profession, if you will), meaning be sure that you have really touched on the core of your true vocation. Having an occupation that we are happy with, in the long run and on a daily basis, is a key factor in realizing your potential for being a well adjusted person. Fourth: be conscientious about your choice regarding marital status. If you opt for marriage, be mindful that it should be "for keeps", or at least that is the overall built-in suggestion of marriage. Fifth, and probably the most important thing in life: be sure that if you decide to become a parent, that it is for the sole reason that you truly long to have a child in your life. Too many people have kids as a mere "consequence" of being married, without really pondering if they truly want children, and sometimes don't fully assess the never-ending commitment to the human being that you will be parenting.

Mark: Interesting perspective, but about choosing a profession, most people are ill prepared to make the correct decision about what road to take, perhaps because they are too young or immature to be certain, and then, there could be circumstantial factors that would be limiting, including financial ones. Anything that you might want to add about this most important decision about our lives?

AG: Difficult question, Mark! This a subject that if we were to even try to go into in depth, it would be not only time consuming, but I would certainly lack in knowledge as to suggest all of the possible solutions for such universal problem. I can only say that as parents, we should try to assist our children in the task of discovering their true vocation, leaving our egos aside. In other words, we should not suggest in explicit or even in implicit ways that they should try to please us with their choice, or become carbon copies of ourselves. Unfortunately, most parents seem to interfere too much, with their egotistical aspirations and do offer too much "guidance". Instead, they should merely contribute to helping their kid find a way to be in touch with their natural and intuitive talents.

Carol: When you answered Linda's question about the important factors in our lives, did you include a moral aspect?

AG: Well, more often than not it's difficult to separate the practical from the moral or even religious aspects, because at times they may coincide. Some of the practical factors, as for example, obeying the law, already have implicit moral connotations, since a lot of the written laws are based on some kind of principal that can be interpreted, at least partially, as "moral", as for example the laws on stealing or on killing another human being.

If I was to speak solely about my own beliefs regarding how a human being should conduct his or herself, I would go back to what I said about trying to perfect oneself, such as trying to be unselfish, kind, generous, and as honest as a human being can be. That, of course, entails a constant vigilance not to engage in anything ugly, and to try not to do to others what you would not like done to you.

Jeff: Now, we're going to really "think big" here… I'm going to ask you a "mega" question. What do you think are the biggest problems affecting the world today?

AG: Greed, overpopulation, and lack of humanitarian spirit. Greed, meaning the unscrupulous pursuit of material wealth or power, is what makes corporations pollute the soil, the air and the waters; it is for greed that elephants, tigers and other gorgeous creatures are hunted down, it is for greed that a large portion of crimes are committed, as well as social injustice is inflicted upon some. It is because of greed that people and animals are enslaved and masses of people are overworked and underpaid by the few who hold the "gold". It is because of greed that we are lied to by politicians. Unspeakable cruelty is inflicted on animals as means of research for commercial products because of greed; they are robbed of their lives, so that humans can manufacture clothing and wear their skin, or manufacture and sell stupid adornments made with their teeth.

Over-population, especially in poor countries, is one of the main reasons for starvation and lack of housing, and of course, general poverty, itself. If there was more of a humanitarian spirit in this world, the civilized nations that are affluent would invest in education of the masses in terms of contraceptive measures, and actually provide gratis supply of contraceptives in all countries were poverty coexists with over-population. Affluent countries should participate more aggressively in the feeding of the poverty stricken, and the education of their children. Religion entities that preach against family planning and contraception should be obligated by law to participate in badly needed assistance to abused, neglected, and starving children, who are often the result of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. If there was more of a humanitarian spirit in this world, physical abuse inflicted on the "weak" (by the weak I mean women, children, the elderly and animals), would be top priority of legislators and politicians, all over the world, regardless of their religious upbringing.

Linda: Wow, Astrud, I'm impressed! (laughs) Are you sure you don't want to run for the Senate? (laughs). Let's see, changing a bit to a "lighter" thing… What would you like God to tell you, while you're entering heaven?

AG: "Gee, Astrud… Your soul is looking so much better! Did you have cosmetic surgery, or something?" (laughs)

Mark: On your website, you say that daisies and gardenias are your favorite flowers. Do they symbolize anything to you?

AG: Not that I am aware of in a conscious level. I'm not a psychologist, but I suppose there could be a psychological factor for me to like these flowers.

Carol: Well, let's pretend that they possess human-like qualities. What adjectives would you use for either one?

AG: Let's see… Daisy: cheerful, simple, discreetly pretty. Gardenia: profound, romantic, intense.

Jeff: Let me take-off on that. What element of Nature inspires you the most?

AG: You mean, as something poetic?

Jeff: Yes.

AG: I guess I would have to say the sky. But, man, you sure came up with an incredibly difficult question! How can you choose among so many marvelous things in nature? Hey, I'm already wondering if it's not the ocean, the flowers, or the Summer breeze. (laughs) No… I'll stick to "the sky"! That's my final answer! (laughs)

Linda: On your website you also cite qualities that you most admire, but if you have to point out just one quality that is indispensable for someone to be a decent human being, what would that be?

AG: Compassion. That is, in my opinion, the most important one. But, mind you, that I don't mean compassion in the way some politicians use the word today. (laughs) I mean true compassion, the ability to be touched by the suffering of another living being.

Mark: Changing subjects a bit, we know that you have talents as a fine artist, in addition to your singing. What painters do you like?

AG: Difficult to single out a few... Let's see… I like Rene Magritte, Gauguin, and Modglianni. As for contemporary ones, Claude Gaveau and Bruno Bruni are my favorites.

Carol: What do you think of the pop culture these days? Are you shocked?

AG: Well, younger generations have always been in the business of shocking the older ones. Yes, I am sometimes shocked, and believe that in many aspects our culture has deteriorated to a point of decadence, and wonder if perhaps there'll be a "reaching bottom" kind of level, and then perhaps at some point a return to better values? Maybe shocked is not even the right word… I guess it's more like I'm disappointed that somehow some of what is being presented as entertainment nowadays has gotten to what I perceive as being at the lowest level of moral, intellectual and spiritual guidelines. I think that a lot of people have become desensitized by the excessive gratuitous violence and the commercial exploitation of violence. I also think that, in that same vein of having become "desensitized", there's not enough distinction between explicit sexual behavior and natural sensuality.

Unfortunately, the music business is the greatest offender of all in the vulgarization of sensuality, causing youngsters to be confused by overt and often pornographic sexuality being the only form of sensuality depicted in videos. Often what's shown as "choreography" is the depiction of simulated sexual acts. In fact, most of what these videos show, in my opinion, classify as pornography. Actually, that is also the "opinion" of the American Heritage Dictionary that defines pornography as "pictures, writing, or other material that is sexually explicit and sometimes equates sex with power and violence." As a woman, I pity the role that the majority of the young female singers are playing in videos and in live performances these days, in compliance with this trend that I find to be very, very sad for our society, and particularly undignified and diminishing for women. Certainly, this is a horrible role model for children. I find it hard to believe that the major "pop stars", especially women, do not comprehend the seriousness of their responsibility as role models. Too bad that they seem to have all fallen prey to being such pathetic misrepresentation of American youth and American culture. I say American, when perhaps I could also include other nationalities that are in this same "boat", but I live in the US, and that is the only place that I can talk about, in terms of my cultural observations.

Jeff: You said "some of what's being presented as entertainment". I guess you do not generalize all types of entertainment, correct?

AG: You're right. There are so many exceptions. It is obvious that some directors, producers and actors in the movie industry, for example, seem to hold on to higher standards and put out some dignified stuff, thank God! The movie industry also has a few "big stars" that conduct themselves and their public persona image with dignity and even humbleness. Although there are quite a few "classy" stars like that, I could cite just as examples; Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Merryl Streep, to name a few. Of course, there could be so many names added… So, what I'm trying to say is that thank God there are some actors and movie personalities who counteract a bit for the harmful role models of so many other "stars" that are either vain, self-absorbed to a ridicule extreme, or just plain vulgar. Then, of course, there are also some wonderful TV celebrities, such as Oprah and Rosie O'Donnel, for example, who are such great role models of compassion, dignity and honesty. They have proven that one can also succeed by dwelling on the beautiful and the constructive aspects of humanity. By doing so, they have contributed to the enrichment of our culture, hopefully counteracting the vulgarity and the irresponsibility of some others.

I'm actually not a prude, and in fact, I think it is "cool" to be sexy. But, I have a romantic perception of sexuality and, in either case, in all forms of art expressions, I do not favor lack of subtlety. Of course, another example of intellectual and spiritual decadence, in my humble opinion, is the contents of some of the "reality shows". Although I don't look for them, out of curiosity, I have on occasion watched them, and was compelled to switch channels, after just a few minutes. I find it hard to believe that anyone could find it entertaining to watch people cursing at each other, or people drinking blood, or killing an animal. What will be next? We are behaving more and more like a decadent society, where we're bored with life and looking for "kicks" in ugliness. Like spoiled rich kids who have too many toys and don't value any. I think as a collective people, we need to get a good "spanking" to straighten us out!

Boy, I really took off for too long, Jesus! Since you guys have been kind enough not to say "enough, Astrud", I'll say it myself! Enough about this subject!

Linda: Not really. You didn't talk too much. This happens to be a very complex subject. Not possible to give a quick answer, but, all in all, with all of what you observed, there must be some contemporary singers that you like, aren't there?

AG: Sure, there are some. At the risk of forgetting to mention all, I'll cite for example, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Mary Jay Blithe, and I love Macy Gray!

Mark: Okay, we're going to let you go, but let's end on a more cheerful note, okay? Tell us what do you think are the best things in this world?

AG: That's an easy one; children, animals and music.

Well, I thank all of you for posing "good questions" to me. I enjoyed this! We'll get together again soon and do a Part Two of this, okay?

"The finest clothes turn to rags. Be careful all day long"  -  from the I Ching.

INTERVIEW WITH ASTRUD GILBERTO - PART TWO


Mark: So, let's get started on this second interview! You said I could be the first, so I ask you: when you used to give interviews, did you ever enjoy giving them?

AG: Well, you know, I am basically a cheerful and optimistic person. Sure, my demeanor was always affable and pleasant… On occasion, it was fun, particularly when the questions being asked were intelligent, but on the other hand, often it was a bit like "torture"...

Carol: I guess that puts a great burden on our shoulders here today, I mean, to be smart…

AG: Well, sometimes what is difficult about interviews is not so much that the questions are "dumb", but the fact that a journalist will ask questions that are indeed "important", but that yet have been asked of you a million times before. It is difficult to retain any kind of enthusiasm or even a positive demeanor, when you are responding to the same questions, over and over again... I used to try to focus on the idea that although for me it may be the millionth time to answer a particular question, it might be the first time that the reader or listener of the interview will be made aware of my answers. Being patient and doing a "good job" at interviews is also a question of being respectful to the audience, something I always took very seriously. In short, you have to somehow, be able to respond each time with the same sincerity and hopefully even enthusiasm that you've had, when the question was posed to you for the first time.

Jeff: So, what made you change your mind, and allow us to act as journalists and ask you questions?

AG: The notion that people that come to my website may have a legitimate "healthy" curiosity about my career and about factors that have had bearing over my work… I do get a lot of messages from my fans asking where they can find interview material to read about me, or suggesting that we post more information on the site. So, this part of the interview should also serve the purpose of answering the "Frequently Asked Questions", and also to dispel any prevalent misconception about me or my career.

Linda: Okay… We are not "professional" interviewers, but I believe that we got the "hang of it"… Astrud, let's start from the beginning. Without going into great details about the life of your family members, do you come from an artistic family?

AG: Yes, for sure! Almost everyone on my mother's side of the family plays an instrument. My Mom, herself, although a teacher by profession, was very musical. She sang with a beautiful voice, and played the violin and the "bandolim", a Brazilian instrument similar to a banjo.

I'm the youngest of three sisters. Both my sisters didn't embrace careers in music, but are also very musical, and had both played the piano in their youth. The older sister, Iduna, a retired Federal judge in Brazil, started painting in recent years (she works with oils on canvas), and she is quite good at it. Edda, the middle sister, is a terrific fine artist, doing beautiful art work with airbrush technique. As you guys know, I like to paint, as well... So, the three of us seem to have inherited some of my Dad's talents for fine arts. My Dad was a passionate fine artist (he painted with oils on canvas). Although painting was a secondary profession for him (as he was primarily a professor of languages), his artwork was regarded by many as unique and outstanding. My Dad did not have a talent for singing or playing an instrument, but he had very high regard for music, as well as for all other types of art.

Mark: Now comes the "millionth time question": How did you start singing professionally? How did it come about?

A.G.: In my mid-teens I befriended a group of young people best described as a musical "clan", with whom I hang out on almost daily basis. All of them became famous eventually; some nationally, some internationally. Part of this group were: Nara Leao (who was my best friend and actually became a famous singer), songwriters Carlos Lyra, Oscar Castro Neves, Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Boscoli (who was also a well known journalist, and the older in the group). It was Nara who introduced me to Joao Gilberto, our group's musical "guru", to whom I got married to, a few months after we had met.

As you know, I was still married to Joao Gilberto at the time of the recording of "The Girl from Ipanema". Before the recording, I had never sung professionally. I'd like to emphasize to those of you who have read the distorted version that I was "just a housewife until Stan Getz or Creed Taylor 'discovered' me", that although I had not yet performed "for hire", I've had already some experience as a vocalist stemming from the few years that I had been singing at gatherings with this clan of musicians. Then, of course, I had also acquired experience from the teachings and daily musical "sessions" with the "master", himself, Joao Gilberto…

After I got together with Joao, the clan grew larger, to include "older" folks such as Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Morais, Bene Nunes, Luis Bonfa and Joao Donato, and of course, their respective "other halves". Joao Gilberto and I used to sing duets, or he would accompany me on guitar. Friends would always request that I sing at these gatherings, as well as at our own home when they would come to visit us.

In 1963 I came to the US with Joao, as he had a commitment to record the Getz Gilberto album. Prior to that, only once (in 1960), I performed in public with Joao (although not "for hire"), at a famous concert that took place at the "Faculdade de Arquitetura do Rio de Janeiro", one of Rio's best known Universities, and sung two songs accompanied by Joao. This was a musically historical show, not only because it solidified the popularity of "bossa-nova" style of music within Rio's elite's youth, but because it also presented for the first time several names that subsequently became famous (besides myself).

Fast forward now to 1963: One day, a few hours prior to Stan Getz coming to our NYC hotel for a scheduled rehearsal with Joao, he (Joao) told me with an air of mystery in his voice: - "Today there will be a surprise for you". I begged him to tell me what it was, but he adamantly refused, and would just say: - "Wait and see…" Later on, while rehearsing with Stan, as they were in the midst of going over the song "The Girl from Ipanema", Joao casually asked me to join in, and sing a chorus in English, after he had just sung the first chorus in Portuguese. So, I did just that. When we were finished performing the song, Joao turned to Stan, and said (in "Tarzan" English) something like: "Tomorrow Astrud sing on record… what do you think?" Stan was very receptive, in fact very enthusiastic; he said it was a great idea. The rest, of course, as one would say, "is history". I'll never forget that while we were listening back to the just recorded song at the studio's control room, Stan said to me, with a very dramatic expression: "This song is going to make you famous".

The funny thing is that after my success, stories became abound as to Stan Getz or Creed Taylor having "discovered me", when in fact, nothing is further from the truth. I guess it may them look "important" to have been the one that had the "wisdom" to recognize talent or "potential" in my singing… I suppose I should feel flattered by the importance that they lend to this, but I can't help but to feel annoyed at the fact that they resorted to lying!

Carol: But that sort of thing, meaning these stories of "stars being discovered", they were very prevalent in those days, were they not?

AG: Oh yeah, Carol, that's a good point! Very keen observation! In those days, much more so than now, the Press and the public at large thrived on these stories about movie stars being discovered at drugstores, and the idea of a "housewife" suddenly becoming well known singer, was a good selling promotional campaign for Verve Records (laughs). So Verve, paradoxically, put out the "information" sometimes of me having been discovered by Stan, and sometimes by Creed Taylor! I have no idea why they were inconsistent in their story telling…

Jeff: Did you, at the time, contest these versions, when interviewed?

AG: In a way I did, although not in a confrontational manner. But, I did tell the real story many times at different interviews. However, I did not have a "publicity machine" behind my story, in spite of it being the truth. I guess the true story was too simple and too logical to have promotional "impact".

Linda: Did you enjoy recording it?

AG: Yes, very much so… I always loved to sing. I was a bit nervous; first time at a recording studio… But, at the same time, I felt very reassured by the presence of my husband, Joao and of Jobim, who at the time was a supportive friend.

Carol: Then, what happened? Did you start performing right away?

AG: No, no… Nothing like that… Shortly after the recording, Joao and I went to Europe, where he had several scheduled engagements, and from there we also went briefly back to Brazil. We returned to the US some ten months later (in 1964), and that is when the record was released.

Jeff - Did the single come out first, or did the album come out first?

AG: The album was released first (you know, the LP), containing a somewhat long version of the song, in which Joao sung the first chorus in Portuguese and I sung the second chorus in English. When the song became the disc-jockeys' favorite, Verve decided to release it as a single, and edited it as to include only my vocal performance.

Linda - ... and shortly after the release, you joined the Stan Getz Quartet as a fifth member, their vocalist, correct?

AG: Yeah... Actually, I was never "Stan Getz's vocalist" per se. That is another misconception "out there". I performed with the group on a six-month tour as "guest vocalist", and would sing two or three songs at the "finale" of the quartet's show. The single had been released in the Spring. The song was already a hit. Joao had been invited by Stan to perform as "special guest" of his quartet at the "Café Au Go Go" (a trendy jazz club in NY's Village). On the days approaching the engagement, Joao decided to cancel his appearance, due to some problems he had been experiencing with cramps on his hand, which, of course, made it impossible for him to play the guitar. Stan invited me to appear, instead of Joao. The idea of trying for a career of my own, as means to support myself was a welcomed destiny kind of event…. So, although scared to death, I accepted. Can you imagine that on my very first appearance on stage, there was this very long line of people outside the club, eager to come in? Strange, isn't it? Right afterwards, Stan Getz invited me to join his group as a "special guest vocalist" for the next 2-week engagement at the Carter Baron Theatre in Washington, D.C. During that engagement, Stan presented me with a contract for me to continue appearing with his group for the subsequent six months. Although I came to bitterly regret having signed this contract, by which I was being paid "slave salary", at the time, being that I was in the process of separating from Joao Gilberto, I saw it as a bit of security, in terms of having the means to make a living and support myself and my son, Marcelo.

Mark - So, you must have been frightened by all this… That must have been difficult!

AG: Yes, it was. Very difficult times!… Besides being in the midst of a separation and dealing with the responsibilities of being a single mother and a brand new demanding career, I was also coping with being on my own for the first time in my life, in a foreign country, traveling with a child, having financial difficulties…. and, of course, sadly, totally naïve and unprepared to deal with the "wolves posing as sheep"… Oops!… I, myself, am starting to drift into a more personal area… Let's continue to talk about the singing career…

Carol: But, Astrud, a lot of people know that Stan Getz took advantage of you, that kind of thing has happened to a lot of artists, especially in the beginning of their career…

AG: I know, Carol. I'm not ashamed of this story. I just don't like to get to the details of the story. Yes, it is true. … And, unfortunately, Stan was not the only one, because several other individuals and companies that I had associated with in the beginning, took gross advantage of me. However, I don't believe in "badmouthing" anyone, even when reporting the truth. I have always chosen to be silent about it. All of these people who have wronged me.. their karma is their own business… I go my own way, and try not to dwell on the negative…

Jeff - Are you saying that you don't feel hurt by that kind of stuff?

AG: Oh, no, that is not what I'm saying; not at all! Of course I am hurt, I'm only human. I am not only hurt, but also very frustrated, and God knows how much I wish that it had not been so… But, I prefer to keep these bitter memories to myself, and actually I try to "release" it only to the Cosmic Forces, as it seems that in this way the burden of the hurt becomes lighter. Conversely, I refuse to say hypocritical "nice things" about some of these people that took advantage of me! So, I chose, instead, to just be totally silent about them and have always declined to make statements about them in interviews for articles, books, documentary-films, or whatever.

Linda: But, by refusing to talk about stuff like that, the gaps can be huge in the story telling, right?

AG: You're right about that only if you are referring to personal feelings and emotions, or personal financial losses, but, as for my career's chronological story, it does not change it all that much. My professional liaison with Stan Getz took place in the first six months of my singing career. After that, I went my own way, with my own group, and have seldom (if ever) looked back.

Mark: What was your first engagement with your own group?

AG: First engagement was actually at a club in London, a trendy place then called, I believe, "The Cool Elephant".

Carol: You have had in your group some wonderful sax players such as Charlie Mariano and Jerry Dodgeon. When did you decide to switch to trombone?

AG: In 1983, I decided that it would be refreshing to have a different sound in the group, so I hired a trombone player, David Sachs, and subsequently, Jay Ashby and, in the last several years, Luis Bonilla. I love trombone! Actually I adore the trombone sound. On one of my early recordings (on the Shadow of your Smile album) I recorded a song called " O Ganso", as a duet with the marvelous trombonist Bob Brookmeyer.

Actually, not only sax players, but I did have the privilege to work with many outstanding musicians and arrangers. It just would be impossible to name them all…

Jeff: Actually, I read somewhere that this recording that you just mentioned of you singing the melody without lyrics, similarly to an instrument, was actually the first time that anyone has ever done this! You started a trend that has crossed over from one decade to another 'til now! How did you have the idea to do that?

AG: It was actually the kind of situation where one thing led to another. Luis Bonfa had shown this song to me just a couple of days prior to me getting started on the "Shadow of your Smile" project. I loved it; I thought it was such cute and cheerful song! But there was a problem: the song had no lyrics, and there was no time to actually somehow "produce" a set of lyrics. So, I said: "Hey, that is not going to stop me from recording it! I'll sing it as a 'trombone'"! So, one thing led to another, and next thing I knew, I was rehearsing it with Bob Brookmeyer, who was one of my favorite Jazz players. On "O Ganso" we do a separate duet in different spots of the melody, and in other spots of the song, we play in unison. I particularly loved the blending of the voice with the instrument. So, I started doing little pieces here and there, performing the melody without lyrics, as a "horn". You know, Jazz vocalists had been "scatting" prior to my debut as a "horn", but their singing without lyrics was limited to improvisations within the written harmonies, never the actual melody, itself…

Linda: So many people had picked up on your idea… Does that bother you?

AG: Oh, no… Quite to the contrary!… I am so happy when I hear someone elaborating on my initial concept. Someone like Eliane Elias, for example. I love what she does with this basic concept and the way she has blended her voice with synthesizers.

Mark: Of course I know the answer, but I'm aware that a lot of people think that Bebel Gilberto is your daughter…. Since we're replacing the "FAQ", do you want to clarify that she is not?

AG: Sure!… To whom it may concern: I am not Bebel's mother, nor even "stepmother". She is, actually, Joao Gilberto's daughter with his second wife (I was his first).

While on this kind of subject, Mark, let me add: to whom it may concern, I was never married to Stan Getz, nor was I married to Antonio Carlos Jobim. I also never performed with Sergio Mendes, and, furthermore, I don't play the guitar (laughs), although I sure wish I did! (laughs)

Carol: My turn to elaborate on this kind of subject. There's a Brazilian writer whose name I will not give the "honor" to mention here, who has written something very disturbing about you. I know from talking to you that this, somehow, came to your knowledge. I'm referring to him having alleged on one of his books that you were "booed" by the audience at your only performance in Brazil. Do you want to take the opportunity to clarify the truth about that also?

AG: Hey Carol, thanks for offering me the opportunity! You know, I find it perfectly alright when a critic says "bad things" about me as an artist, because in doing so, he or she is exercising his or her right to express their own opinion on my work. However, I find it irresponsible and immoral that someone writing a book supposedly as a "documentary" on Brazilian music, would make such an untruthful and defamatory allegation.

I only performed in Brazil once. This part is true. It was in Sao Paulo, in 1965, after I had already experienced much success in live performances, internationally. Contrary to what this individual reported, I was applauded and, in fact, came back to the stage for an encore! Although it's true that the audience's reception was not nearly as warm and enthusiastic as the reception by the audiences that I was already accustomed to, like I said, I was applauded, and certainly not booed!

Jeff: So, after that, you never performed in Brazil again, correct?

AG: Correct. For some reason that only a sociologist might be able to accurately explain, the Brazilian Press was extremely unkind to me, reporting only selective derogatory untruthful rumors (some of which are still around), harsh criticism, and unwarranted sarcasm. I was very hurt by this. It was such great disappointment… When I came back from Brazil at that time, I made a promise to myself that I would never, ever again sing in Brazil. So far, I have kept this promise, having declined each and every invitation or proposals to perform in Brazil. Once was enough!…

Linda: That is so intriguing!… To anyone who doesn't know this story, it would be a natural assumption that you could count on the admiration of the Brazilian Press and maybe even the gratitude of Brazilians in general, for the mere fact that you have been one of the most, if not the most prominent and effective Ambassador of Brazilian music and Brazil, in general… At the risk of making an "overly simplistic" observation, maybe they are just "jealous" of you for you having international acclaim, and perhaps resentful of you for you having (in their eyes) "left" Brazil. What do you think?

AG: Although a sociologist may have a more complete explanation for such strange and seemingly cruel behavior, in essence I do agree with you, Linda. You know, I was not the only internationally famous Brazilian to suffer that kind of attack. I believe Sergio Mendes has been attacked in similar ways and even Jobim, while he was residing in the U.S. was unfairly criticized when he would visit the homeland. Eventually, Jobim returned to Brazil "for good", and then he was judged "okay" again… And, of course, there's the horrific story about Carmen Miranda having been booed and ill criticized, when she visited Brazil after her huge international success. Seems to be the Brazilian way… or perhaps it's just a sociological tendency of people in general. Isn't there an ancient proverb to the effect that "No one is a prophet in his own land"?

Mark: Did that make you bitter towards Brazil and Brazilians?

AG: No, not at all. Once I made the decision to never again expose myself professionally there, as well as not to read anything written about me, I acquired the self confidence of knowing that I would never again be victimized in that same manner. I have no qualms with Brazilians, and I enjoy myself very much when I go to Brazil. Of course, I go there as an incognito visitor, and not as a performer.

The Brazilian Press, more often than not, reports "tabloid" style, when referring to artists in general, regardless of the publication's status. In other words, even reputable and well established newspapers will report petty and/or derogatory gossip, without much preoccupation with checking on their veracity. Even when they are not being purposefully unkind (as in bluntly attacking you), they'll say untruthful things in the vein of someone being either "eccentric", "extravagant", "bitchy", "difficult", " filthy rich", or being involved in some "secret" love-affair. It's the Brazilian way…

Carol: On a more cheerful note, on your biography there's a mention about you having recorded with one of your idols, Chet Baker. How did that happen? How did you meet him?

AG: I met Chet right at the beginning of my career, at the time when I was on tour with the Stan Getz Quartet. Our engagement had ended, at some Jazz Club in San Francisco, and I had a couple of days off before the next engagement. I knew that Chet (one of my idols, since my teens) was going to be performing in town, actually at the same club, so I stayed in San Francisco an extra night, and went to listen to him. I sat by myself, at a very discreet table towards the back of the room. At some point, Chet made an announcement: -"I'd like to acknowledge the presence here of a celebrity, a very special young lady" … I, along with everybody else in the audience, started to look around to see who was this celebrity. Then, Chet says: -" Ms. Gilberto, would you care to join us for a song?" What??? ME? LITTLE ME? Oh, my God!… I thought my knees were going to let me down. I was terrified and, as much as I was flattered, would have given anything to be able to run away and hide… But, that would have been impolite and unacceptable… So, I walked on stage. Quickly, it went through my mind: "what could I possibly sing?", "of course they are not going to know any of my Brazilian repertoire…" So, real quickly, God inspired me: "I know what! I'll say "Fly me to the Moon"; I know the lyrics and I'm sure they'll know the music". So, I said, meekly, to Chet: -"Can we do Fly me to the Moon?" He said:

-"Sure"!…" I said: -"Can we do it in bossa-nova?" He consulted with the drummer, then said "Yes". So, we did it! Only God knows what came out, as I was overwhelmed with nervousness, stemming not only from the already familiar "regular" stage fright, but also from the ultimate intimidation - to sing with my long time idol!!! So, that's how I met Chet.

Jeff: Subsequently, you actually recorded "Fly me to the Moon", didn't you?

AG: Yes I did, although not with Chet. I very much enjoyed the idea of doing it in bossa-nova, so I decided to record it on the "Shadow of Your Smile" album, and I did it with Bob Brookmeyer on trombone. In fact, my recording of "Fly me to the Moon" was a big hit in Japan, and other parts of Asia!

Linda: Many years went by until you eventually recorded something with Chet, right?

AG: Yes. It was not until late seventies that I got to record with him a song named "Far Away" (of which I've written the melody), on an album titled "That Girl from Ipanema". It was a thrill to sing with him as a duet, especially doing one of my own songs! Definitely a highlight of my career!

Mark: Do you think of yourself as a songwriter that sings or the other way around?

AG: The other way around, a singer who also writes songs.

Carol: What about your work as producer, how did that start?

AG: Well… Technically speaking, from the very first album. I did a lot of co-producer work in all of my early albums, but unfortunately did not get credit or payment for it. I was too unassertive and too "non-materialistic" to complain and demand payment or credit for the producing work I was doing. So, you know, someone else got full credit as producer. I was doing an important part of a producer's work, such as choosing the songs, the arrangers, and often even some of the musicians. I did put my "two cents" in everything! I used to go to the arrangers' house, or spend hours on the phone with them, discussing all of the details of the arrangements, and of course, making contributions to the treatment of each song. By contrast, the "official" producer was often not even aware of what songs we were recording, and sometimes at recording sessions, would ask me: -"What are we doing next?" …. Believe me, I am not suggesting that I did all of the producing, by myself. There were certain aspects of producing that I did not know enough about and had limitations about at that time, anyway, so I could not having been the sole producer. But, by all means and in all fairness, I was the ghost co-producer.

Jeff: So, I guess by the time your name appeared on a record cover as producer, you already had plenty of experience… that was on the "Astrud Gilberto Now" album, right?

AG: Yes, it was. This ill fated album (the company went out of business not too long after its release), was also the first album presenting my own compositions. Although I had a "bag full" of written songs, this "other talent" of mine had been a well kept secret. I think I was, for a long time, too shy to say "Hey, I write songs, too! Let's do one of my songs!". Somehow, at the time I was the "official" producer, I became bold enough to come out of the closet with my songwriting…

Linda: I gather that this album, although "ill fated" as you've put it, was a mark of some kind. Can you think of other marks like that, in your career?

AG: I think when my son Marcelo joined my group as my bass player, in 1982, it was also a mark. His presence in the group made me feel emotionally sheltered when we traveled, besides personally proud of his talents; these were happy influences in my life that were also positive influences in my productivity, as an artist. God knows that him and I together faced many episodes of what I have referred to as the music business "vicissitudes". Besides being one of the musicians and a contributor to the group's arrangements, Marcelo also played the role of my manager sometimes, and even that of a "guardian" against the "wolves"… Musically, this was a time of musical beginnings, not only because I changed the format of the group to include a trombone player (instead of sax), and started to include many of my own compositions in our live shows, but also because (in 1983) Paulo Jobim (Jobim's son) had also joined the group. He stayed with our caravan for one year, during which I did a lot of his songs (he is, himself, a talented songwriter).

Mark: During this period, that is when you recorded the "Astrud Gilberto Plus the James Last Orchestra" album, right?

AG: That was a bit later, in 1986, and yes, still with the same group. Marcelo made great contributions to that album, and so did Paulo Jobim. Although Paulo was no longer officially part of my group, he was our guest in the album.

Carol: …and then, again in late eighties and early nineties, Marcelo collaborated with you in recordings. I know because I have one of the albums, "Temperance".

AG: Yes, we recorded a live album titled "Astrud Gilberto Live in New York" and "Temperance", a studio album, both released by Pony Canyon, and both co-produced by me and Marcelo. Temperance, with the exception of "How High the Moon" features my compositions only. That was also a mark of some kind…

Jeff: But, these two albums are only available for sale in Asia, true? How come?

AG: Jeff, I don't know how come, or rather… it's a long story… But, it has a lot to do with the difficulties of the business end of the music business. Regrettably, it did not enjoy international exposure yet. But, hey, maybe one day…

Linda: Your son Greg, plays on "Temperance" also, doesn't he? That must have been great!

AG: It was. My son, Greg Lasorsa (from a second marriage), is a terrific guitarist and made a guest appearance on the song "Beautiful You". I love the solo he did, and it was wonderful to have both my sons playing on a song with me. Actually, I am completely proud of their talents! Greg has been my personal manager for several years now.

Jeff: You did couple up in a few vocal duets, besides Chet Baker. You want to tell us a little bit about them?

AG: On the "Last" album, I did sing a song in unison with my son, Marcelo. That was on "Caravan". The timbre of his voice is similar to mine, therefore, I suppose some people may have assumed that this was some form of "doubling" of my own voice!

Then, on that same album, I did a couple of songs with Ron Last, the son of James Last. He had sung on a demo of a few of his compositions, and submitted it to me. I liked a couple of the songs very much, and I also liked very much the way he sings. So, to Ron's great surprise, I proposed not only to include the songs in the album, but to actually do them as vocal duets with him. He was thrilled!

On the "Temperance" album I do a song, "How High the Moon", with the New York Voices. That was great fun! I am an admirer of their work.

On "Beautiful You", although not a duet, Michael Franks sings a few lines with me. We are good friends, and a true "mutual admiration society"…

Then, there was the duet of "Desafinado" with George MIchael. A lot of people were surprised by our coupling for the song, since we come from different schools of singing. But, all in all, I love the way it came out. George is an incredibly versatile singer, and I think he did such marvelous work with his singing in Portuguese, in the "bossa-nova" style; incredibly charming! I'll tell you how I met George as a separate thing, just so that this answer of mine about the duets is not a mile long… On that same year (1996), I also did a duet with French Pop star, Etienne Daho. That was also great fun. We wrote a song together for this duet, which came out on his album titled "Eden".

On my latest recording, "Jungle" I sang a duet with John Margolis, a New York musician whom I greatly admire. I did a lot of thinking before approaching him. I wanted someone who could really sing the blues. I think he did a fantastic job in his performance with me on "In Spite of the Odds".

Then, still on the "Jungle" album, there's also the duet with Mark Lambert, my guitarist and co-producer of the album. Mark and I had been singing duets of our mutual compositions, at live performances, and had sung "Dancing" to live audiences on several occasions. I love the way Mark sings, so it was a natural thing for us to record "Dancing" together, to which Mark had written beautiful lyrics.

Linda: Okay, AG. We're ready to hear about you and George Michael!

AG: In 1988 a friend of mine told me that George Michael had said on an interview that he loved my album with James Last (released in 1987), and that it was indeed one of his favorites. Not knowing much about "pop" stars, I asked my friend : - "Who is George Michael?", to which he answered with great surprise, almost annoyed: - "You don't know who George Michael is!? He happens to have the number one record on the chart, and you don't know who he is?" Then, he went on to explain more about George Michael's work to me. This left me very curious as to how come a "pop" singer would like my record, because usually the people who most like my work are more into Jazz. So, I bought George's then latest album, "Faith", out of curiosity. I liked a lot of things on the album, and was still intrigued by the fact that he had liked my album. On an impulse, I sent a Western Union telegram to him, addressed to the record company, saying something like: "Hi, George, I heard that you liked my last album. I like yours too! If you're ever in New York, give me a call at……" A few weeks later, I got a call from a lady-associate of his, inviting me to come and hear George sing at Madison Square Garden. So, I went, and met George back stage. I was delighted with the fact that, although he is such a huge star, his demeanor was so natural and not affected by his fame. I truly liked him!

Next time I saw him, it was in London, a few years after that, when I was performing there at a theatre and he came to see my show. He visited with me back stage, and once again, I had such great impression of him, as a person.

In 1996, I heard George singing "From Jesus to a Child", on a TV video. I liked the song a lot, and was impressed with his performance. He was singing this song, with an approach very similar to "bossa-nova"… I called him at his number in London, and left a message on his machine, saying something to the effect that I loved his performance on the "Jesus song", and that I would be delighted to sing a song with him. A couple of weeks went by, then I got a call from George, from Las Vegas, where he had gone to watch the Mike Tyson fight. He said something like: - "Astrud, you won't believe this, but coincidentally, I have been thinking of contacting you to see if you would sing a duet with me on a song! It would be on a project for the "Red Hot" organization (referring to the "Red Hot in Rio album"), and the only reason why I have been reluctant to propose this to you, is because it doesn't pay any money, it's something for charity." I replied that that was okay by me, that I would be delighted not only to sing with him, but to actually be a contributor to the fight against aids. Then, of course, we did follow up on our plans, and we recorded "Desafinado" in London, in that same year.

Mark: Now, talking about writing songs… Tell me something, when you write the lyrics for a song, do you get inspiration in self-experienced events and feelings?

AG: Definitely! All of my lyrics are based on feelings or thoughts that I have experienced, or events and relationships that I have participated in.

Carol: You told us, thus far, about some of your idols. But, you didn't tell us yet about Gil Evans. How did that recording come about?

AG: In talking to Creed Taylor about the up-coming album that we would be recording (at that time yet untitled), I said: - "Gee… I wish I could do it with Gil Evans doing the arrangements". For some reason, I thought that this would be one of these wishes that are impossible to fulfill. …And I was astonished by the casual tone with which Creed replied: - "Sure, I think that's a good idea! I'll be in touch with him right away, and I'll let you know". Next thing I knew, I was meeting Gil, at first at MGM's office, and then for several rehearsals at his apartment in downtown Manhattan. Gil was such a genius! But, yet, so humble!... He would listen to all of my suggestions (all of my "two cents"), with such patience and eagerness to please… I loved the arrangements he wrote! Unfortunately, throughout most of the recording of my vocals, I was fighting a nasty cold and my voice was not behaving as I wished it did.

Gil was such a sweet and loving man, besides being a musical genius. He would bring to the studio a bottle of honey and some scotch. He said that the honey and scotch added to a hot cup of tea helped the voice. True or not, I drank plenty of it… In either case, it tasted good in the cold, snowy days (we recorded it in the Winter of 1966). The album got the title of "Look to the Rainbow", which ironically is one of the few songs not arranged by Gil, on the album. We became good friends. I never missed an opportunity to hear him play with the Gil Evans Orchestra, at New York's "Sweet Basil", on Monday nights.

Jeff: I read something about you having recorded in several languages. Is that true, are you multi-lingual?

AG: To a certain extent, yes. Fluently, I only speak Portuguese and English, although I used to speak German quite well when I was a child. I still understand it a bit, although I forgot how to speak it... I can also speak a little bit and can read fairly well in French, Italian and Spanish. I did record in all these languages, and was told that my diction on the recordings is not too shabby …

Linda: On your latest album "Jungle", you participated in so many capacities.. You sung, you've arranged, you produced, you wrote most of the songs, and you even did the artwork! Did that feel good?

AG: Yes, it felt VERY GOOD, not having to "respond" to anybody or anything!… The only person with much to say about the recordings was Mark Lambert, my chosen co-producer, with whom I have enough affinity when it comes to perceiving music, that we never had any clashes. Our capabilities and talents compliment each other in ideal ways. All of the participants are musicians whose talents I greatly admire, and they all have made meaningful contributions with their suggestions. Everybody was allowed to put their "two cents" in! We worked together very enthusiastically.

Mark: I'm not a music critic, but in listening to the album I did perceive that you guys were in spiritual harmony and having lots of fun! One more question: On the website, it says that you're taking "indefinite time off" from performing. How long will that last, any idea?

AG: I don't know. I truly don't know… I always had difficulty with planning for long-term future. I kinda like to take life one day at the time. As you know, I was performing up until mid 2001, and also recorded the album. So it's been a relatively short time since I am not directly involved with music. But, at the moment, let me say that I do not miss going on the road, and that I am very happy just doing work as a fine artist. Will I ever perform "live" again? Looking from where I am right now, it is doubtful, although I am not announcing any irrevocable retirement… We'll see, as time goes by…

Hey guys, I don't know about you, but I kinda of think that is time to wrap this up. I thank you all for your pleasant and intelligent way of interviewing me. It beats the style of many professional journalists, for sure! Maybe will do this again some other time!

Take care!

 

"You will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments when you really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love." -  Henry Drummond

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