João Gilberto changed the course of Brazilian music, but it didn’t stop there — he changed the world with his bossa nova beat.

His first recording of The Girl from Ipanema became a worldwide hit and peaked at No. 5 on Billboard. Getz/Gilberto, the album on which it appeared, won the Grammy Award for best album of the year in 1965, beating out Barbra Streisand and Henry Mancini, among others. The Girl from Ipanema went on to become the second most recorded popular song in history after The Beatles’ Yesterday.

All of this from a then-unknown musician who had his wife Astrud — who was not a professional singer at the time — sing on the recording, and who had previously been in seclusion in a little town in the mountains for eight months, suffering from severe depression. It was there that Gilberto found solace in his guitar and invented the style of music that took the world by storm. It changed not only his life but the lives of many others around him, notably Antônio Carlos Jobim. There are plenty of composers of whom we may never have heard had it not been for the brilliant rhythm and relaxed vocal style that Gilberto created and became known for.

Bossa nova has influenced many musicians and songwriters in jazz, pop and beyond. Rarely do I receive a new Latin jazz album in my mailbox that doesn’t contain a bossa nova track. Bossa nova has made its place in music history, and we owe it all to Gilberto.

I know that when I feel the stresses of life and just need to breathe, I put on João Gilberto and melt into oblivion. Bossa nova is like a breath of air: sexy, sultry and relaxing. It conjures up visions of beaches, sunsets and the softness of a warm ocean breeze. I share this with you weekly on Café Latino — there is rarely a show during which I don’t include Gilberto on my playlist. This is my gift of relaxation to you.

These are some of my favourite recordings by the one and only João Gilberto. I love these beautiful songs and I hope you do, too.