“Antônio Carlos Jobim: “Father of Bossa Nova”
#28, September/October

Credit: Magazine A Praça (Town Square)

A remembrance of the legendary Brazilian songwriter, pianist, guitarist and arranger, his collaboration with Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes, and a look at some of his best recordings and movie scores.

“The Girl from Ipanema,” “One Note Samba,” “Desafinado,” “Corcovado.” All of these memorable songs and more than 400 others were composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim, one of Brazil’s most beloved songwriters and musicians. Affectionately known as Tom in Brazil, Jobim, along with musicians Luis Bonfá and Joâo Gilberto, are generally credited with creating the romantic mix of samba and jazz which came to be known as bossa nova. Jobim and Bonfá composed the samba-influenced score for the 1959 film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus), a retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval. The film became popular worldwide and won the Academy Award for best foreign film.


Tom Jobim was born in the district of Tijuca in Rio in 1927. He began his musical career as a pianist and arranger. He came to prominence in Brazil when he composed the music for the play of Orfeu with the Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes who wrote the lyrics for many of Jobim’s best known songs. Their sophisticated harmonies attracted the attention of American jazz artists like tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Charlie Byrd. Jobim’s music evokes the natural beauty of his home country: turquoise sea, white sand beaches and birds of the Amazon tropical rainforest.

American listeners discovered Jobim in the sixties through the hit recording of “The Girl from Ipanema” with Getz, Gilberto and the vocal of Gilberto’s wife, Astrud. The song was inspired by a young girl whom Jobim and Vinicius would see passing on Rio’s Ipanema Beach. 1967 was an especially fruitful year which saw the release of the album Wave (A&M) and a classic collaboration with Frank Sinatra, Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim (Reprise). The latter recording captures the mature Sinatra at his best: quiet and intimate with the sensitive support of Jobim’s accompaniment on guitar and vocals. Sinatra reportedly said he never sang so softly since he had laryngitis.

Jobim composed music for several films in addition to Orfeu Negro including The Adventurers (1970) and Gabriela (1983). He wrote both Portuguese and English lyrics for a 1972 gem, “Águas de Março” (“Waters of March”), which received a classic interpretation by the legendary Brazilian vocalist Elis Regina on the indispensable Elis and Tom, still available on CD (Philips). Jobim continued to compose and record up to his death from cardiac arrest in 1994 and is lionized in Brazil. Although musical tastes have changed greatly, Tom Jobim’s vast catalog of songs contains some of the most beautiful ones ever written, and many have become jazz standards which are still loved and performed by today’s artists.

Credit : Magazine A Praça (Town Square) http://www.magazineapraca.com/