Philly-Brazilian ensemble Minas celebrate the music of legendary Astrud Gilberto


Patricia King Haddad and Orlando Haddad – Philly’s premiere Brazilian jazz ensemble, Minas – are no strangers to making magic on stage.

Loved for their original compositions on albums such as ‘Symphony in Bossa’, and unique theater projects like ‘La Giara’ (The Water Jug), the local duo are beloved for their curated live evenings dedicated to other artists—past Minas concerts filled with the sounds of The Beatles, Sergio Mendes and João Gilberto are legendary.

Now, as Minas’ celebrates 40 years together, the pair have added to that list an evening dedicated to bossa nova and samba vocalist-composer Astrud Gilberto, which will take place at World Café Live on Feb. 8.

The late Gilberto, the woman behind the classic ‘The Girl from Ipanema,’ lived in Philadelphia for decades and recorded albums such as ‘Jungle’ here, before she passed away in 2023.

“People appreciate the simplicity of Astrud’s voice, its purity and no-frills, no vibrato and no embellishments,” said Orlando Haddad, Mina’s band-leader and guitarist.

“Astrud had a naturalistic approach to music that made her more commercial and easier to digest,” added Patricia, the ensemble’s vocalist and pianist.

After moving from Rio to Philly in 1984, the Haddads not only began playing their own innovative brand of self-composed Brazilian jazz, but presenting the music of its heroes.

“Like what we did with Sergio Mendes, we present the music of our heroes such as Gilberto in two ways – their way and our way,” said Orlando. “We’re never copycats.”

Patricia stated that “harmonic content” and “rhythmic complexity” of its heroes must fit Minas’ iconic sound in order to suit their own brand of interpretation.

“It has to fit into what we do in terms of jazz… and with Astrud, there is her understated style to consider,” said Patricia. “Her aesthetic is laid back, deceptively simple, yet rich with nuance, delicately articulated phrasing and a rhythm that dictates the melody.”

Speaking of samba and its “rhythmic wheel,” Patricia states that the groove never stops spinning, propelling the music forward.

“When I first heard Astrud Gilberto in 1969, it was around the same time I first heard the Beatles,” said Orlando. “At first, I was more interested in the Beatles than bossa nova, but bossa nova was a sound in my blood by osmosis. It was the marriage of samba and jazz. It gets under your skin.”

Patricia, a vocalist, has a large, lush voice in comparison to Atsrud Gilberto’s soft, simple tone. In capturing Gilberto’s sound at World Café Live, Patricia said she will be herself, “but I will honor Astrud’s material in a way that made Gilberto unique.”

Both Haddads recall meeting Astrud Gilberto at a 1999 New Years Eve party at the Society Hill Towers’ home of Robert Driver, then-Director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Hired to play an NYE gig for the people on Driver’s floor, including Gilberto (“she said she knew us and our music which was nice,” says Orlando), Minas set up their live gear to play only to receive requests for “The Girl from Ipanema.”

Patricia and Orlando both laugh recounting the tale of meeting Gilberto and their reaction to getting “Ipanema” as a request. “No, we can’t play that,” said Patrica laughing. “Astrud is the voice of that song. We’ll honor her in February, but there is no one like Astrud Gilberto.”

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