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Biography

  • Born

    25 January 1927

  • Born In

    Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Died

    8 December 1994 (aged 67)

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

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.

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

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, April 23, 1889 – July 19, 1935), was a writer, diplomat, professor and journalist. He came from a prominent family, being the great nephew of José Martins da Cruz Jobim, 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. His mother, Nilza Brasileiro de Almeida (c. 1910 – November 17, 1989), was of Indigenous Brazilian descent from Northeastern Brazil.

When Antônio was still an infant, his parents separated and his mother moved with her children (Antônio Carlos and his sister Helena Isaura, born February 23, 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 February 2, 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.

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 Heitor Villa-Lobos and Ary Barroso. The bossa nova guitar style in Jobim's music has become firmly entrenched in jazz culture. 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 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 December 2, 1994. On December 8, 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. He was survived by his children and grandchildren. His last album, Antonio Brasileiro, was released posthumously three days after his death.

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

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