Antônio Carlos Jobim

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Antônio Carlos Jobim
Antônio Carlos Jobim (cropped).jpg
Jobim in 1967
Background information
Birth nameAntônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim
Also known asAntônio Carlos Jobim, Tom Jobim, Tom do Vinícius
Born(1927-01-25)25 January 1927
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died8 December 1994(1994-12-08) (aged 67)
New York City, U.S.
  • Musician
  • composer
  • songwriter
  • singer
  • Piano
  • guitar
  • flute
  • vocals
Years active1945–1994
LabelsVerve, Warner Bros., Elenco, A&M, CTI, MCA, Philips, Decca, Sony

Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim (25 January 1927 – 8 December 1994), also known as Tom Jobim (Portuguese pronunciation: [tõ ʒoˈbĩ]), was a Brazilian composer, pianist, guitarist, songwriter, arranger, and singer. Considered one of the great exponents of Brazilian music, Jobim internationalized bossa nova and, with the help of important American artists, merged it with jazz in the 1960s to create a new sound, with popular success. As such, he is sometimes known as the "father of bossa nova".[1]

Jobim was a primary force behind the creation of the bossa nova style, and his songs have been performed by many singers and instrumentalists internationally.

In 1965, the album Getz/Gilberto was the first jazz record to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It also won Best Jazz Instrumental Album – Individual or Group and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. The album's single '"Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema)'", composed by Jobim, has become one of the most recorded songs of all time, and the album won the Record of the Year. Jobim composed many songs that are now included in jazz and pop standard repertoires. "Garota de Ipanema" has been recorded over 240 times by other artists.[2] His 1967 album with Frank Sinatra, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim, was nominated for Album of the Year in 1968.

Early life[edit]

Antônio Carlos Jobim was born in the middle-class district of Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro. His father, Jorge de Oliveira Jobim (São Gabriel, Rio Grande do Sul; 1889–1935), was a writer, diplomat, professor and journalist. He came from a prominent family, being the great-nephew of José Martins da Cruz Jobim,[3] senator, privy councillor and physician of Emperor Dom Pedro II. While studying medicine in Europe, José Martins added Jobim to his last name, paying homage to the village where his family came from in Portugal, the parish of Santa Cruz de Jovim, Porto.[4][5] His mother, Nilza Brasileiro de Almeida (c. 1910–1989), was of partly Indigenous descent from Northeastern Brazil.[6]

When Antônio was still an infant, his parents separated and his mother moved with her children (Antônio Carlos and his sister Helena Isaura, born 23 February 1931) to Ipanema, the beachside neighborhood the composer would later celebrate in his songs. In 1935, when the elder Jobim died, Nilza married Celso da Frota Pessoa (died 2 February 1979), who would encourage his stepson's career. He was the one who gave Jobim his first piano. As a young man of limited means, Jobim earned his living by playing in nightclubs and bars and later as an arranger for a recording label before starting to achieve success as a composer.

Musical influences[edit]

Jobim's musical roots were planted firmly in the work of Pixinguinha, the legendary musician and composer who began modern Brazilian music in the 1930s. Among his teachers were Lúcia Branco and, from 1941 on, Hans-Joachim Koellreutter, a German composer who lived in Brazil and introduced atonal and twelve-tone composition in the country. Jobim was also influenced by the French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and by the Brazilian composers Ary Barroso and Heitor Villa-Lobos, who has been described as Jobim's "most important musical influence."[7] Among many themes, his lyrics talked about love, self-discovery, betrayal, joy and especially about the birds and natural wonders of Brazil, like the "Mata Atlântica" forest, characters of Brazilian folklore and his home city of Rio de Janeiro.


In the 1940s, Jobim started to play piano in bars and nightclubs of Rio de Janeiro, and in the first years of the 1950s, he worked as an arranger in the Continental Studio, where he had his first composition recorded, in April 1953, when the Brazilian singer Mauricy Moura recorded Incerteza, a composition by Tom Jobim with lyrics by Newton Mendonça.[8][9]

Jobim became prominent in Brazil when he teamed up with poet and diplomat Vinicius de Moraes to write the music for the play Orfeu da Conceição (1956). The most popular song from the show was "Se Todos Fossem Iguais A Você" ("If Everyone Were Like You"). Later, when the play was adapted into a film, producer Sacha Gordine did not want to use any of the existing music from the play. Gordine asked de Moraes and Jobim for a new score for the film Orfeu Negro, or Black Orpheus (1959). Moraes was at the time away in Montevideo, Uruguay, working for the Itamaraty (the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and so he and Jobim were only able to write three songs, primarily over the telephone ("A felicidade", "Frevo" and "O nosso amor"). This collaboration proved successful, and de Moraes went on to pen the lyrics to some of Jobim's most popular songs.

In 1958 the Brazilian singer and guitarist João Gilberto recorded his first album with two of the most famous songs of Tom Jobim: Desafinado and Chega de Saudade. This album inaugurates the Bossa Nova movement in Brazil. The sophisticated harmonies of his songs caught the attention of jazz musicians in the United States, principally after the first performance of Tom Jobim at Carnegie Hall, in 1962.[10]

Jobim in 1972

A key event in making Jobim's music known in the English-speaking world was his collaboration with the American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, the Brazilian singer João Gilberto, and Gilberto's wife at the time, Astrud Gilberto, which resulted in two albums, Getz/Gilberto (1963) and Getz/Gilberto Vol. 2 (1964). The release of Getz/Gilberto created a bossa nova craze in the United States and subsequently internationally. Getz had previously recorded Jazz Samba with Charlie Byrd (1962), and Jazz Samba Encore! with Luiz Bonfá (1964). Jobim wrote many of the songs on Getz/Gilberto, which became one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, and turned Astrud Gilberto, who sang on "Garota de Ipanema" (The Girl from Ipanema) and "Corcovado" (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars), into an international sensation. At the Grammy Awards of 1965 Getz/Gilberto won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group and the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. "The Girl from Ipanema" won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Among his later hits is "Águas de Março" (Waters of March, 1972), for which he wrote both the Portuguese and English lyrics, and which was then translated into French by Georges Moustaki (Les Eaux de Mars, 1973).[11]

Personal life[edit]

Jobim was married to Thereza Otero Hermanny on 15 October 1949 and had two children with her: Paulo Jobim (1950–2022), an architect and musician, (father of Daniel Jobim (born 1973) and Dora Jobim (born 1976)); and Elizabeth "Beth" Jobim (born 1957), a painter. Jobim and Thereza divorced in 1978. On 30 April 1986, he married 29-year-old photographer Ana Beatriz Lontra, with whom he had two more children: João Francisco Jobim (1979–1998) and Maria Luiza Helena Jobim (born 1987). Daniel, Paulo's son, followed his grandfather to become a pianist and composer,[12] and performed "The Girl from Ipanema" during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.[13]


Grave of Jobim in the Saint John the Baptist Cemetery, Rio de Janeiro

In early 1994, after finishing his album Antonio Brasileiro, Jobim complained to his doctor, Roberto Hugo Costa Lima, of urinary problems. He underwent an operation at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City on 2 December 1994. On 8 December, while recovering from surgery, he had a cardiac arrest caused by a pulmonary embolism, and two hours later, another cardiac arrest, from which he died.[14] He was survived by his children and grandchildren. His last album, Antonio Brasileiro, was released posthumously three days after his death.[15]

His body lay in state until given a proper burial on 20 December 1994. He is buried in the Cemitério São João Batista in Rio de Janeiro.[16]


Tom Jobim statue in Ipanema

Jobim is widely regarded as one of the most important songwriters of the 20th century. Many of his songs are jazz standards. American jazz singers Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra prominently featured Jobim's songs on their albums Ella Abraça Jobim (1981) and Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim (1967), respectively. The 1996 CD Wave: The Antonio Carlos Jobim Songbook included performances of Jobim tunes by Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Toots Thielemans.

Jobim was an innovator in the use of sophisticated harmonic structures in popular song. Some of his melodic twists, like the melody insisting on the major seventh of the chord, became commonplace in jazz after he used them.[17]

The Brazilian collaborators and interpreters of Jobim's music include Vinicius de Moraes, João Gilberto (often credited as a co-creator or creator of bossa nova), Chico Buarque, Edu Lobo, Gal Costa, Elis Regina, Sérgio Mendes, Astrud Gilberto and Flora Purim. Significant arrangements of Jobim's compositions were written by Eumir Deodato, Nelson Riddle, and especially the conductor/composer Claus Ogerman.[18]

He won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012.[19] As a posthumous homage, on 5 January 1999, the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro changed the name of Rio's Galeão International Airport, located on Governador Island, to bear the composer's name. Galeão Airport is explicitly mentioned in his composition "Samba do Avião". In 2014, Jobim was posthumously inducted to the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.[20] In 2015, Billboard named Jobim as one of The 30 Most Influential Latin Artists of All Time.[21]

American contemporary jazz singer Michael Franks dedicated his 1995 album Abandoned Garden to the memory of Jobim.[22] English singer/songwriter George Michael frequently acknowledged Jobim's influence. His 1996 album Older was dedicated to Jobim,[23] and he recorded "Desafinado" on Red Hot + Rio (1996) with Astrud Gilberto.

The official mascot of the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Tom, was named after him.[24]

In 2015, a crater on the planet Mercury was named in his honor by the IAU.[25]

Discography and compositions[edit]



  1. ^ "Rio unveils statue of father of bossa nova Tom Jobim". Euronews. 10 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Ecad divulga rankings no centenario de Vinicius de Moraes". UOL. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  3. ^ Programa Roda Viva (TV Cultura), entrevista Tom Jobim Domingo, 19 de Dezembro de 1993 (PGM0385) Online transcription and video of the interview Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ CORADINI, O. L.: Important families and the professional elite within brazilian medicine. História, Ciências, Saúde—Manguinhos, III (3) 425–466, November 1996 – February 1997. Online .pdf Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ SILVA, Innocêncio Francisco da: Diccionario Bibliographico Portuguez: Applicaveis a Portugal e ao Brasil, Lisboa 1860, p. 62
  6. ^ Cabral, Sergio (1987). Tom Jobim. : Texto de Sergio Cabral. The Archive of Contemporary Music. Rio de Janeiro : CBPO. ISBN 9788585144012.
  7. ^ Ewans, Michael; Halton, Rosalind; Phillips, John A. (2004). Music Research: New Directions for a New Century. Cambridge Scholars Press. ISBN 978-1-904303-35-0.
  8. ^ Béhague, Gerard (2001), "Jobim, Antônio Carlos [Tom]", Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.44182, ISBN 9781561592630
  9. ^ "Incerteza". Jobim Institute.
  10. ^ "Tom Jobim". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  11. ^ Les eaux de mars - BnF Data. Bibliothèque nationale de France. 1972. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  12. ^ Cohen, Aaron (13 September 2012). "Bebel Gilberto doesn't let her family legacy be a road map". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  13. ^ Cantor-Navas, Judy (17 August 2016). "'Girl From Ipanema' Makes Olympic Comeback". Billboard. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  14. ^ Cabral, Sergio (2008): Antônio Carlos Jobim – Uma Biografia (1st Edition). São Paulo, Brazil: IBEP Nacional. ISBN 85-7865-011-5
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 March 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Jonglez, Thomas (22 June 2016). "Finding peace with the 'little angels' of Rio's São João Batista cemetery". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  17. ^ MacDowell, João; The Harmonic Development of Brazilian Song, Rio de Janeiro,1999.
  18. ^ Red Bull Music Academy (2005) Eumir Deodato – Boy from Rio Pt. 1, Accessed 6 December 2006. Archived 25 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Mendes, Sergio (31 January 2012). "Lifetime Achievement Award: Antonio Carlos Jobim". The Recording Academy. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  20. ^ "Special Awards – Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame". Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  21. ^ "The 30 Most Influential Latin Artists of All Time". Billboard. 28 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  22. ^ O'Toole, Kit (26 March 2008). "Michael Franks's Abandoned Garden an Eloquent Tribute to Jobim". Blogcritics Music. Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  23. ^ "Serious George Is Back". Newsweek. 19 May 1996.
  24. ^ Rio 2016 (15 December 2014). "Rio 2016 Paralympic mascot named 'Tom'". Official Website of the Paralympic Movement. International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Jobim". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. IAU/NASA/USGS. Retrieved 20 September 2022.
  26. ^ "Browsing Discos by Date". Retrieved 28 September 2019.


External links[edit]