Tom Jobim (1927-1994)
Throughout the world, Antônio Carlos “Tom” Jobim is recognised as one of the most complete and influential musicians of the 20th Century. Born in Tijuca and bred in Ipanema, he started to study Architecture before embarking on his musical career. After he learnt the piano and the guitar, he started to play at bars and night clubs in Rio de Janeiro and then, in 1952, he was hired to be the arranger of the Continental record company.
Two years later, Dick Farney and Lúcio Alves recorded Theresa of the Beach (Tereza na Praia), which became Tom’s first hit, in partnership with Billy Blanco. In 1954, he met Vinícius de Moraes, with whom he recorded the sound track of the play Orpheus of the Conception (Orfeu da Conceição), which included the song Someone to Light Up my Life (Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Você).
Also together with Vinícius, he composed all the songs of the record entitled Song of Too Much Love (Canção do Amor Demais, 1958), which specialists in Brazilian popular music say is the cornerstone of the Bossa Nova movement, together with the recordings of Enough Nostalgia (Chega de Saudade) and Slightly Out of Tune (Desafinado) by João Gilberto. That same year, it was Silvia Telles’ turn to record Young People’s Love (Amor de Gente Moça), a record with 12 songs by Tom, including In Your Arms (Só em Teus Braços), Dindi and Happiness (A Felicidade).
In 1962, he obtained international recognition as the main highlight of the Bossa Nova Festival held at the Carnegie Hall, in New York. The following year, he composed The Girl from Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema), the Brazilian song most played abroad, in all times.
In 1962 and 1963, the number of classic hits composed by Tom is quite impressive: The Airplane Samba (Samba do Avião), I Only Dance the Samba (Só Danço Samba), She Is Carioca (Ela É Carioca), The Hill Has No Turn (O Morro Não Tem Vez),If You Never Come to Me (Inútil Paisagem), I Live Dreaming (Vivo Sonhando). Because of the success of his songs abroad, Tom started to visit the United States quite often, and there cut a record with Frank Sinatra, with English versions of his most important songs.
Back in Brazil, he won the 3rd International Song Festival, with the song Thrush (Sabiá), composed in partnership with Chico Buarque, that was jeered off in the national part of the festival. In the 1970s, Tom started to combine his knowledge of jazz and erudite music with elements of Brazilian culture, in his compositions, always with sophisticated harmony and creative arrangements. Deepening his musical studies, he absorbed the influence of Villa-Lobos and Debussy, in new compositions of rare inspiration. This is the case of Matita Perê and Vulture (Urubu), records of the 1970s which include hits such as Waters of March (Águas de Março), Anna Louisa (Ana Luiza), Lygia (Lígia), and Current (Correnteza).
Also at this time, he records songs with Elis Regina, Miúcha and Edu Lobo. Passarim, of 1987, is the work of a famous composer. It is a difficult task to choose the most important in the some 50 records he participated in, either as composer, singer or arranger. All have something innovative, different and special. His last CD, Antônio Brasileiro, was launched in the United States in 1994, shortly before his death in December that year.
Book 100 Brasileiros(2004)