• Antônio Carlos Jobim

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Think of Bossa Nova music in its purest form and it’s hard not to think of Antonio Carlos Jobim, a composer, arranger, guitarist, pianist and vocalist who defined popular Brazilian music for several decades.

Born into a middle class family, he grew up in Ipanema describing his early years as just being another “beach boy”, hanging out on the beach and bars of the neighborhood. At age 20 he was an architect student, however building musical compositions was a better fit for the young Brazilian, who opted to work as a pianist in nightclubs and bars. He was fortunate to find mentors in the form of  Lucia Branco and the German composer Hans- Joachim Koellreutter and dedicated hours to his craft.

He made his first single as the back up singer in the group “Tom and his band.” However, it was his work with poet and playwright Vinícius de Moraes in 1956, that brought him fame and early recognition in Brazil. Jobim provided innovative compositions fusing simple and harmonic melodies with samba style percussion. It is believed that at this point he began to, if not completely created the new genre of Bossa Nova. He gained international prominence due to his collaborative work with American Jazz Saxophonist  Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto. This musical team spawned the two classic albums Getz/Gilberto and Getz/Gilbeto Volume 2, both considered jazz and bossa nova classics and significantly influenced the careers of Joao Gilberto and Jobim who composed several songs on both albums. Upon its initial release, the track “Desafinado” brought Jobim widespread acclaim but it was the “The Girl from Ipanema“, which brought him true international prominence. The song, inspired by a beautiful Brazilian model, won the Grammy for record of the year in 1965 and has become one of the most easily recognised and most recorded songs in the world having topped several charts internationally upon release. The album it was derived from, “Getz/Gilbero also enjoyed much acclaim winning the Grammy for album of the year (only one of two jazz album to win the accolade) and regarded as one of the “essential albums” of the 20th century.

Later, he would go on to have a decorated career with several solo albums and his records becoming jazz and bossa nova standards. In addition to this he has also enjoyed a fruitful career as a musical collaborator working with various musicians both within and outside of Brazil, most notably Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

By the time of his death in 1994 Jobim’s status as one of the most influential musical composers of the 20th century and indeed of all time was in little doubt. Both his music and his career have been recognised by the recording academy of the arts and science ( the same body that rewards the Grammys)and he has also had a an airport named in his honour in Rio De Janiero.

Antonio Carlo Jobim
Discography
I was a beach boy, and I believe I learned my songs from the birds of the Brazilian forest.
Antonio Carlos Jobim