Walter Wanderley (May 12, 1932 - September 4, 1986) was a Brazilian organist, pianist, and arranger with an exotic yet laid-back style who became famous in the U.S. during the mid 1960s and helped popularize bossa nova in this country. He is best known for the chirpy, jazz-infused easy listening classic, "Summer Samba (So Nice)" (1966).
Born Walter Jose Wanderley Mendonca in Recife, Brazil, he had already become famous in his native country by the mid 1950s. While performing with his trio whose members also consisted of Claudio Slon (drums) and Jose Marino (bass), Wanderley was discovered around the early 1960s by Tony Bennett who recommended him to record producer Creed Taylor. By 1966, Wanderley had relocated to the U.S. and signed with Verve where he recorded several albums through the late 1960s that included three from 1966 with his trio: the platinum-certified "Rain Forest," "Cheganca," and "A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness," the latter of which features Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto (of "The Girl From Ipanema" fame).
Wanderley made his U.S. debut in 1966 with what would become his signature song, "Summer Samba (So Nice)," a Top 5 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart that also made the Pop/Rock Top 40. This instrumental smash, which also became a hit worldwide as well as a beloved bossa nova standard, was followed on the Adult Contemporary chart by the upbeat "Amanha" (1966), a Top 20 hit. Wanderley's final charting song in the U.S. came in late 1966 with the pulsating "Cheganca," which became a minor hit. Other songs for which Wanderley became well known include "Wave" (from his 1967 album, "Batucada"), "Amazonas" (from "The Fantastic Walter Wanderley Boss Of The Bossa Nova"), and his instrumental rendition of the Chris Montez hit, "Call Me" (from "Rain Forest").
Walter Wanderley performed and recorded actively through the early 1980s and released dozens of albums throughout his long career.
- UPI remembers Brazilian organist and bossa nova popularizer Walter Wanderley.
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- Summer Samba (So Nice) 1966
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