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Só Danço Samba (song)

"Só Danço Samba" (aka "Jazz 'n' Samba") is a bossa nova song composed in 1962 by Antônio Carlos Jobim, with lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. English lyrics were later written by Norman Gimbel. On occasion, it has also been known as "Jazz Samba" and "I Only Dance Samba", an English translation of the original Portuguese title.

In Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World, author Ruy Castro suggests that the song was part of a failed movement to invent a bossa nova dance. "Jobim, who had never danced in his life, had just finished writing 'Só danço samba' [Jazz 'n' Samba] with Vinicius, but it was without much conviction. So much so, in fact, that on hearing 'Só danço samba' for the first time, João Gilberto asked him, 'What's this Tomzinho? A boogie-woogie?'"

The song was first performed by João Gilberto and Os Cariocas in August 1962 at the Au Bon Gourmet restaurant in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, at what Castro calls "the bossa nova show to end all bossa nova shows", as it featured Jobim, Gilberto, Vinícius de Moraes and Os Cariocas on stage together for the first and last time.

A few months later, Gilberto and Os Cariocas performed the song again in the Italian film, Copacabana Palace (1962), in which they are briefly shown singing together.

Elza Laranjeira released the first recording of "Só danço samba" in October 1962.

Recorded versions

  • Elza Laranjeira – "Só Danço Samba" single (October 1962)
  • João DonatoA Bossa Muito Moderna (1963)
  • Herb Ellis & Charlie ByrdGuitar/Guitar (1963)
  • Stan Getz & Luiz BonfáJazz Samba Encore! (1963) as "Só Danço Samba (I Only Dance Samba)"
  • Antônio Carlos JobimThe Composer of Desafinado, Plays (1963) and Antonio Brasileiro (1994)
  • Roberto Menescal E Seu ConjuntoA Bossa Nova (1963)
  • Os CariocasA Bossa Dos Cariocas (1963)
  • Elza Soares – "Só Danço Samba" single (1963)
  • Tamba Trio – Avanço (1963)
  • Walter WanderleySamba No Esquema De Walter Wanderley (1963)
  • Clare FischerSo Danço Samba (1964)
  • Stan Getz & João GilbertoGetz/Gilberto (1964)
  • Milt JacksonJazz 'n' Samba (1964)
  • Charlie ByrdBrazilian Byrd (1965) and My Inspiration: Music of Brazil (1999)
  • The Sergio Mendes TrioThe Swinger from Rio (1965) with Antônio Carlos Jobim, Hubert Laws, Art Farmer & Phil Woods
  • Wanda De Sah (Wanda Sá) - Softly! (1965)
  • Ella FitzgeraldThe Stockholm Concert, 1966 (rec. 1966, released 1984) and Ella and Duke at the Cote D'Azur (1967)
  • Dick HymanBrasilian Impressions (1967)
  • Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66Equinox (1967)
  • Helen MerrillBossa Nova in Tokyo (1967)
  • Baden PowellLive in Hamburg (rec. 1983, released 1995)
  • Karrin AllysonDaydream (1997)
  • Eliane EliasEliane Elias Sings Jobim (1998)
  • Rosa PassosCurare (1991) and Me and My Heart (2001)
  • Yo-Yo MaObrigado Brazil Live In Concert (2004)
  • John PizzarelliBossa Nova (2004)
  • Emilie-Claire BarlowLike a Lover (2005)
  • Vanessa da MataVanessa da Mata canta Tom Jobim (2013)
  • Vinicius CantuáriaVinícius canta Antonio Carlos Jobim (2015)
  • Caroll VanweldenPortraits of Brazil (2016)