About Antonio Carlos Jobim Essay

1252 words - 6 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

J. Major ◘]. But this influence was mixed, in his musical personality. “He merged the experimentalism of French impressionist composer Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel with folkloric music and rhythms, emphasizing accelerated and highly chromatic melodic lines. Jobim’s obsession with these harmonics shaped his compositional creativity” [Morales, p.206]. The Brazilian samba gave his music a uniquely exotic rhythmic reinforcement. “As a pianist, he usually kept things simple, although some of his records show that he could also stretch out when given room. His guitar was limited mostly to gentle strumming of the syncopated rhythms, and he sang in a modest, slightly rough yet often hauntingly emotional manner” [AMG-‡].
His lyrics are poetic, both sly and heart-wrenching, with their influences drenched in Brazilian-Portuguese culture. The music and lyrics compliment one another so profoundly, that there’s almost no need of translation. However, in order to help you appreciate Jobim's compositions further, it is essential to hear the translated lyrics to such wonderful compositions as Aguas de Marco (Waters of March), Vivo Sonhando (Dreamer), Triste (Sadness) and O Grande Amor (A Grand Love), just to mention a few.[these songs found in CD1 and CD3]

In 1958, the then-unknown Brazilian singer Joao Gilberto recorded some of Jobim’s songs, which had the effect of launching this genre of music. Jobim's modification of the Brazilian samba was skyrocketed by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd with the Verve 1962 album, Jazz Samba, which included one of Jobim's best known songs, “Desafinado”[CD 2]. Jobim explained that the lyrics to Desafinado (meaning off key) were a joke--fun poked at traditional older singers and songwriters who criticized bossa nova composers. The traditionalists said that these new songs were hard to sing. They said they were "crooked": Desafinado contains a melody note that is a flatted fifth. This note drove conventional Brazilian singers crazy, Jobim said.
During the Sixties and all the way to the early Eighties, Jobim suffered a ridiculous criticism in Brazil, the accusation that he was “Americanized”, a disgusting attitude that claimed many other victims along the years: Sergio Mendes, Tania Maria, Caetano Veloso, among many others. All of them accused of being traitors of their country, because they sold their souls to the devil, i.e., to jazz and to the American market. Needless to say how much it hurt Jobim who used to say: “for Brazilians, when someone becomes successful, it is considered a personal offense!” [B.J. Major ◘]
He contributed large bodies of songs to the jazz repertoire, and expanded his reach to the concert hall. Jobim’s songs gave jazz musicians...

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