B razil is known for many unique qualities. One of these such qualities is the easy going and cheerful approach to living embodied by Johnny Alf. Born Alfredo Jose da Silva, he began studying the piano at age 9. Like his contemporary, Antonio Carlos Jobim , he initially studied and played classical music before an interest in American film and music caused a shift to jazz.

This was a pivotal moment in the life and music of Alf and Brazilian musical as a whole. His professional career launched with playing stints at nightclubs in the community of Copacabana, a meeting place for musicians and free-spirits of the time. Soon he began recording songs and composing for some of the biggest musicians in Brazilian music . As a composer, pianist and singer he released a number of hits such as “Eu e a Brisa”, “Ilusão à Toa” , “Céu e Mar” and his 1990 album Olhos Negros featuring bossa nova artists such as Gilberto Gil , Chico Buarque , Caetano Veloso. His record “Rapaz de Bem” (“Well-Intentioned Guy”), released in 1955, is regarded as a watershed in Brazilian music.

Always a quiet and unassuming figure in the 60’s he left the music scene and became a professor of music at Conservatory Meirele in Sao Paolo. Though virtually unknown outside of Brazil and of modest status when compared to some of the colleagues he worked with locally, among musician and musicologists his influence on Brazilian music has been praised and well documented. Author and export on Brazilian music Ruy Castro has dubbed him ,”the true father of bossa nova.” Joao Donato and Carlos Lyra both have expressed their gratitude and ascribed him as an inspiration and trend setter for future generations of bossa nova artistes.

When asked about his lasting legacy he answered in his familiar relaxed tone, “at least I’m not completely forgotten. My music was always considered difficult. The record labels sensed the value of my music, but it never had the commercial appeal that they would have liked.”

bossa nova artist: Johnny Alf
1971 Ele É (Parlophone)

1974 Nós (EMI)

1978 Desbunde Total (Chantecler)

1990 Olhos Negros (RCA)

2012 Johnny Alf (2012)