Desafinado (m. Antonio Carlos Jobim, w. Newton Mendonça)

According to, João Gilberto recorded the song first, in November 1958. I don’t know if this is the version which appeared on his debut 1959 album Chega de Saudade. Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd had a major hit in 1962 with a single drawn from the album Jazz Samba. It climbed to #15 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the easy-listening chart (Billboard). An English lyric was written by Jon Hendricks and “Jessie Cavanaugh” (a pseudonym used by The Richmond Organisation). Gene Lees wrote another lyric which, according to Wikipedia, was more closely based on the original Portuguese. Each have been used in recordings.


Stan Getz – Charlie Byrd Sextet — recorded at “All Souls Unitarian Church,” Washington, DC, 13 February 1962 — released on Jazz Samba, 20 April 1962

Stan Getz (ts) Charlie Byrd (g) Gene (Joe) Byrd*(g, b) Keter Betts (b) Buddy Deppenschmidt (d) Bill Reinchenbach (per) * omits Gene Byrd

From Wikipedia:

Jazz Samba was the first major bossa-nova album on the American jazz scene. It was the real start of the bossa-nova excitement in America, which peaked in the mid-1960s. Though Stan Getz was the featured star of the album, it was very strongly inspired and designed by the guitarist Charlie Byrd. They were joined by two bassists (Keter Betts and Charlie’s brother, Gene (Joe) Byrd), and two drummers (Buddy Deppenschmidt and Bill Reichenbach) for the recording at All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, D.C. on February 13, 1962, and it was released on April 20, that year as Verve LP V6-8432.

Although it is often described as music by Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, only two of the seven tracks on the album are Jobim compositions (“Desafinado” [Slightly Out of Tune] and “Samba de Uma Nota Só” [One Note Samba]), the rest being by other Brazilian composers and by Charlie Byrd.


Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd, and others (on guitar, bass, and drums) unidentified — on the The Perry Como Show, Season 15, Episode 3; airdate: 17 October 1962 — In this segment, after a brief verbal exchange with Getz following “Desafinado,” Como sings “It Happened in Monterey” with the group.


Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass Lonely Bull, released December 1962


Stan Getz – João Gilberto Quintet — from the album Getz/Gilberto, recorded at A&R Studios, NYC, 18 & 19 March 1963

Stan Getz (ts) Antonio Carlos Jobim (p) João Gilberto (g, vo) Tommy Williams (b) Milton Banana (d)


Gary McFarland — from his 1969 LP Today


Nara Leão — from her 1971 LP Dez Anos Depois — Of the 24 songs on the album, 19 have music written by Tom Jobim.


George Michael with Astrud Gilberto – from Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael, 1998


Gal Costa — from the 1999 live album Gal Costa Canta Tom Jobim


João Gilberto & Caetano Veloso en Buenos Aires, 2000



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Roberto
    Jan 16, 2016 @ 18:50:50

    Thank you. Where can I find a good analysis of desafinado? Thank you



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