João Gilberto di Oliveira is not only a perfect singer, an extraordinary guitarist and the inventor of bossa nova. No, there is also something else which makes him special, and that is his relationship with music, which is so intimate and total that it excludes all else, at times even his audience, not to mention all of the clamour and commerce that accompanies the music world. Fellow-Bahian Gilberto Gil, one of his most affectionate disciples, says that João is like a monk, a monk who leads a life of spiritual retreat searching for purity, the absolute essence, seeking to dedicate the appropriate attention to his calling, and his search has almost become like a mission. The challenge that Gilberto has recklessly set himself is a relentless one. In an age dominated by the arrogance of instruments and their amplification, his voice is a perfectly-in -tune whisper that caresses his songs and dances over the delicate music woven by his guitar. At João’s concerts, audiences listen in a religious silence, participating in a ceremony that has no liturgy. There is no knowing when he will start or when he will finish. Appearing at Perugia’s Teatro Morlacchi in July 1996 during an edition of Umbria Jaz that was strongly influenced by his presence, Gilberto played on late into the night, revealing one by one his polished, finely-cut and flawless jewels. As always, the songs he performed were classics from the history of Brazilian music, not only the bossa nova, but also from further back, from the thirties and forties. He never ceases to explore his music, not even when he finds himself in front of an audience. That is why João can continue for six, seven minutes repeating "O pato" or "Desafinado", threading one chorus after another in a determined attempt to reach what he is searching for. On this CD, Bahian Joao Gilberto from Juazeiro comes truly very close to the musical perfection he has been pursuing for half a century, and these recordings provide us wiht the best recent exapmple of hsi artistry. Just listen to the beat of his guitar, the purity of his voice, the pleasure with which he elaborates and embellishes his collection of songs. Just listen to the ending of "Chega de saudade" by his old friend Antonio Carlos Jobim, to "Doralice" and "Saudade de Bahia" by Dorival Caymmi, to the older sambas "Pra que discutir con Madame"and "Isto aqui o que è?" And also to "Estate", the Bruno Martino song João heard in Italy at the Bussola in the sixties and that he continued to play, experiment with, refine and develop harmonically for almost twenty-five years before deciding to record it (on his album Amoroso - a masterpiece). And listen to what happens to another song from the sixties, "Malaga" by Fred Bongusto, which he takes apart and reassembles until it becomes something else, something that is resoundingly and submissively his own.