An influential musician for a half-century, Brazilian guitarist/singer Joao Gilberto was best known as an originator of bossa nova. Gilberto's early years were less distinguished: he began performing at age 18, following a move from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro, and was fired from his first group Garotos da Lua for missing too many rehearsals. He stayed obscure for a full decade afterward, drifting between cities, releasing the occasional barely-noticed record, and finally being committed to a mental hospital by his father. Yet during this time Gilberto developed the breathy singing style and slowed-down samba rhythms that would characterize bossa nova. He found a friend and supporter in Antonio Carlos Jobim, who signed Gilberto to the Odeon label and cowrote "Chega de Saudade," which launched the bossa nova craze upon its 1958 release. Gilberto's move to the United States soon after led to his most famous recording, a duet album with jazz saxophonist Stan Getz that featured Gilberto's then-wife Astrud's memorable vocal on the international hit "The Girl From Ipanema." After a spell living and recording in Mexico, Gilberto returned to Brazil in 1980 and collaborated with two of the Tropicalia movement's guiding lights, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. His recordings became rarer in later years; the 1991 album <i>Joao</i> featured heavy string arrangements and jazz overtones, but he returned to Veloso and Jobim material for 2000's all-solo <i>João Voz e Violão</i>, his first album in nearly a decade. He settled in Rio de Janeiro, performing sporadically and living reclusively.