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About Antonio Carlos Jobim

  • Date Submitted: 12/15/2010 02:11 PM
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About Antonio Carlos Jobim

Born:   January 25, 1927 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died:   December 8, 1994 in New York, NY

Many of us have a sound in our minds for which we fall in love; words that illustrate our souls, music that somehow says this is me; this is how I truly feel inside. For me, at least in my current exploration of music, that sound is called bossa nova. A musical phenomenon greatly developed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. He was influenced by American jazz, and from the inspiration of the passionate street sambas that were played throughout Brazil. Antonio Carlos Jobim was the compositional center of a music that transcended to become one of the most favored by jazz musicians as an improvisational vehicle.

Most Americans think of Brazil and immediately picture a worm of multitudes dancing at the rhythm of samba music in a colorful carnival, or maybe -in the most conservative of views- just fluffy film romances. But in the 1980s, “the United States achieved a new consciousness of Brazil thanks to musicians, ranging from Sara Vaughan”… “to Pat Metheny that helped focus their listener’s attention on Brazil’s lively and sophisticated music. Few people have been able to represent--even embody--this music with the force and insight of Antonio Carlos Jobim”. [Tesser, (CD3)]

Bossa nova, “new fashion” or “new way” (the approximate translation) is another ramification of the samba; more concise, less noisy, washed, filtered and smoothed with a delicate, complicated beat. “The rhythms are usually played lightly as 3-3-4-3-3 with beats 1, 4, 7, 11, and 14 being accented during every two-bars (played in 8/4 time)” [AMG-†]. It is forward moving and incredibly structured, full of unusual harmonies and syncopations, all expressed with a very sophisticated simplicity.

When we listen to Jobim’s music, it is clear that he “was greatly influenced by American jazz, especially by the generation of Gerry Mulligan, and other West Coast school of jazz musicians whom...


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