Antonio Carlos Jobim: “An Illuminated Man”

At the beginning of May, a biography of one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, Antonio Carlos Jobim, has been published.

An Illuminated Man, the biography of this legendary Brasilian musician, composer, arranger, vocalist, pianist and guitarist, better known as Tom Jobim was written by his sister Helena Jobim, an awarded poet.

The biography gives a detailed picture of the ambiance Jobim grew up in. We get insight into interesting details, from trees that grew in the backyard of the family house, to the furniture in his small room above the garage, where he started flirting with the piano and later wrote his first compositions.

Private details follow the story of a slow but shure rise of Jobim’s reputation as composer of romantic fantasies, his key creative relationships with people like poet/writer Vicinius de Moraes or Frank Sinatra, the most famous interpreter of Jobims compositions.

An illuminated Man is an honest, observant and gentle story of one musical life, written by a person who new the artist very well. Despite her affection for her brother, she didn’t give us an idealised picture of an artist, but showed us his weak side and mistakes he has made as well, like his negligent relationship with business deals that often led to major money loss.

The author also evokes Jobim’s health issues with a special warmth, like problems with his weight, too much love for alcohol and the cancer he faced at the end of his life.

Tom Jobim died in 1994, he was 67 years old. This author was the moving force behind the bossa nova style and contributed to the popularisation of this musical genre as well to popularization of Brasilian music in general. His last album Antonio Brasileiro, came out three days after his death.

Wider audience may know him as the composer of the famous Girl from Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema), one of the most recorded songs in history. Many of Jobim’s originals became jazz and pop standards.

He released four albums with Sinatra. Take a look at their joint performance in 1967.

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