Estate (Summer) is an Italian song written in 1960 by Bruno Martino (music) and Bruno Brighetti (lyrics). It was a minor hit in Italy when released, but it eventually became a worldwide jazz standard, recorded by dozens of singers and jazz instrumentalists. I first heard the song on the João Gilberto album Amoroso. Amoroso, released in 1976, is an album that uses an orchestral arrangement to produce the Brazilian sound of bossa nova. The album features Gilberto on vocals and guitar, backed by a large, but not overpowering, orchestra and arrangements.
The title refers to summer, and the lyrics describe a love lost during summer and the bitter memories that come with the season ever since. The song was originally titled (and the lyric sung) “Odio l’estate” (“I Hate the Summer”) but soon came to be known simply as Estate.
Bruno Martino was born 11th November 1925. His musical career started in 1944, when the young pianist entered the radio symphony orchestra of the Roman broadcasting station RAI. At the same time he already performed with local jazz bands.
After he had left Italy in 1947, he worked in several European night clubs, above all in Denmark. His orchestra played a mixture of jazz, Neapolitan folk-songs and his own compositions, ranking among the most distinguished ball-room orchestras of that time.
After he had returned to Italy, he wrote songs for prominent singers like Caterina Valente, Renato Rascel and Wilma de Angelis. Until that time, he had actually never thought of singing himself, and it was a mere coincidence, that he had to substitute for a singer, who had left his orchestra at short notice.
Here is João Gilberto from the album Amoroso – the best version, in my opinion, since it captures the bittersweet message of the song in an incomparable manner. As Miles Davis said of him, “on guitar, he could read a newspaper and sound good.”
(Italian lyrics by Bruno Brighetti)
Sei calda come i baci che ho perduto
Sei piena di un amore che è passato
Che il cuore mio vorrebbe cancellare
Il sole che ogni giorno ci scaldava
Che splendidi tramonti dipingeva
Adesso brucia solo con furore
Tornerà un altro inverno
Cadranno mille pètali di rose
La neve coprirà tutte le cose
E forse un po’ di pace tornerà
Che ha dato il suo profumo ad ogni fiore
L’ estate che ha creato il nostro amore
Per farmi poi morire di dolore
You are as hot as the kisses, that I have lost
You are filled with a love, that is over
That my heart would like to erase
The sun, that warmed us every day
That painted beautiful sunsets
Now only burns with fury
There will come another winter
Thousands of rose petals will fall
The snow will cover all
And perhaps a little peace will return
That gave its perfume to every flower
The summer, that created our love
To let me now die of pain