In the midst of the heyday of the Ivy League Look came the short-lived music trend known as bossa nova. It hailed from Brazil and was soon picked up by many American musicians, even Frank Sinatra.
One of the genre’s biggest hits was “A Day In The Life Of A Fool,” by composer Luis Bonfa, which appears in the 1959 film “Black Orpheus.” The English lyrics to the song are, in keeping with the era, simple but poignant.
Below are several versions, a smooth one by jazz saxophonist Paul Desmond:
A vibraphone-led rendition by the Modern Jazz Quartet:
… and finally pop singer Jack Jones.
May this be a lovely day in the life of fools everywhere. — CC
I enjoyed the clips…I listened to the Jack Jones clip and wondered why he never got to the level of a Sinatra, Martin or a Como as his voice is quite superb. Perhaps his serious demeanor makes his singing look like so much hard work…the greats (particularly Dean Martin) made crooning seem effortless. Anyway, thanks for a fun post!
Exemplar of the Cool School. Thank you for this.
Years ago I met a Brubeck-obsessed jazz musician. Musician by evening, that is. Day job: college librarian.*
Graduated from Oberlin and still professes tendencies toward socialism and unitarianism. And (go figure) wears MTM trad. Yet another “exhibit A” of why the style in question is now the domain of the quirky and the eccentric (who can afford to indulge it).
*surprisingly good-paying gig
Getz/Gilberto, in my understanding the genesis of bossa nova, is one of the greatest albums of all time.
Thanks for the post Christian. I knew this only as “Manha De Carnaval” in various instrumental or Portuguese versions, and had never heard the English lyrics. Such a beautiful song.
The 1961 version by Wayne Shorter (titled “Black Orpheus”) is one of the classic American takes on this song.
One of my favorite tunes. C-.
Girl from Ipanema, Corcovado, Desafinado, and How Insensitive are cool, too. One can rhumba to a bossa, in a coat and tie.
The Beatles “And I Love Her” was recorded as a rhumba, that’s how we played it. I’m done now, thanks for indulging.
Great memories here; you could actually take a young lady out to a lounge( they were actually called that,) and hear both of you talk and yourself think. On an up tempo,a few years later, Edye Gorme had a hit, “Blame It On The Bossa Nova,” 1963, I think. Nothing as good as these though.I can still remember dancing with nubile young ladies in real madras skirts and Bass Weejuns to this music.
Love it! Thanks CC! I have that Desmond album and it’s one of my favorite tracks on it. I’d never heard the other versions.
Anybody hear the under-pinnings of “El Mas Bello Adagio” by Mozart in “A Day in the Life of a Fool”?
As a teenager in the 60’s, I was a die hard fan of the Dave Brubeck Quartet. I had the pleasure of meeting them backstage on multiple occasions when they played in Cleveland. Each of them was kind, generous with their time and autographs for albums. Brubeck was very kind, Gene Wright was almost paternal and gave me his home address in Chicago.He once sent me a postcard written while on a flight to Denver. Joe Morello was kind and very funny. Paul Desmond was cool, detached and ironic. The title of his autobiography was “How Many Are there in Your Quartet?” which he said was a question asked of him by a flight attendant. They were super decent men who treated their fans like equals-even if they were 15 years old and asked stupid questions like what is improvisation? I met the remaining members after a concert in Chicago in the mid 70’s and Gene Wright not only remembered me, he introduced me to his mother.Great memories of great musicians and more importantly, great people. I still have the autographed albums..