Antônio ‘Tom’ Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim (25 January 1927 – 8 December 1994), also known as Tom Jobim, was a Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer and pianist/guitarist. He was a primary force behind the creation of the bossa nova style and his songs have been performed by many singers and instrumentalists within Brazil and internationally.
Widely known as the composer of ‘Garota de Ipanema’ (The Girl from Ipanema), one of the most recorded songs of all time, Jobim has left a large number of songs that are today included in jazz and pop standard repertoires.
As a young man, 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. He is often regarded as the George Gershwin of Brazil and his reputation as one of the great songwriters of the century is now secure, with every other jazz set seeming to contain at least one bossa nova.
His roots were always planted firmly in jazz – Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Barney Kessel and other West Coast jazz musicians had an enormous impact upon him – but also the French impressionist composer Claude Debussy influenced his harmonies and the Brazilian samba his rhythm.
He first found fame in 1956 when he teamed up with poet Vinícius de Moraes to compose part of the score for a play called ‘Orfeu da Conceicao’, which was later made into the famous film Black Orpheus.
Outside of Brazil, Jobim’s success came with his collaboration with American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, João Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto, which resulted in two albums – Getz/Gilberto (1963) and Getz/Gilberto Vol. 2 (1964). The first album created a bossa nova craze in the USA and subsequently internationally, becoming one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time.
After the 1960s, when Brazilian music was in its American eclipse, Jobim retreated more into the background, concentrating on film and TV scores in Brazil. But by 1985, as world music and a second Brazilian wave gathered steam, he started touring again until his final concerts in Brazil in September 1993 and at Carnegie Hall in April 1994. His last album, Antonio Brasileiro, was released posthumously three days after his death.
Jobim received many awards in his lifetime, including, at the 1964 Grammy Awards, Album of the Year, Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Getz/Gilberto and Record of the Year for ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. At the 54th Grammy Awards, he won a Lifetime Achievement Award.
This clip shows Jobim singing a medley of some of his songs with Frank Sinatra.