Tom Jobim in full, no concessions

The first one of six books with original sheet music, pictures and texts on the maestro's works hits the stores in a project coordinated by his son, Paulo Jobim

Nana Vaz de Castro
Before dying, on December 8th, 1994, Tom Jobim was working on a project to publish his complete works, inspired by the Rodger & Hart songbooks on Cole Porter and George Gershwin. Now his family has finally managed to make that dream come true. Directed by Tom's son, Paulo Jobim, Cancioneiro Jobim comes out in six volumes - five with the complete works and one special edition, with choice works - containing the original sheet music for piano, pictures and texts in Portuguese and English.

The idea is to have a more complete registration of the maestro's music, as opposed to the three-volume songbook printed on Lumiar in 1990. According to Paulo, about 120 from a total of 250 scores presented in Cancioneiro have been revised by the maestro himself along the years, with the help of his son. This is how they organized it: five books that report chronologically the complete Jobim score. Less sophisticated, with only a few pictures and texts, they will cost about 20 dollars each. One "big book" with plenty of pictures, drawings and reproductions brings 42 scores of Jobim's greatest hits, covering all of his career. A true art book, with 420 pages, it shall hit the stores costing about 80 dollars. Along with it, the fourth volume of the five which make the collection is coming out, covering the period of 1971-1982.

Co-produced by jobimmusic and by casadapalavra, the edition features a lot more than sheet music, although Paulo Jobim's introduction makes it clear that this is "a book for piano". He continues by making a few suggestions to instrumentalists concerning the patterns of chords used in it. Also specially valuable for "insiders" (although not exclusively for them) is the foreword written by Lorenzo Mammi, who goes about technicalities and the bossa nova-jazz relation.

For musicians and for the lay
But the Jobim fans who cannot tell a C sharp from an F flat needn't worry. The big book features various appetizers and curiosities, such as Tom's statements, notes, handwritten scores, drawings and plenty of pictures. The texts, in Portuguese and English, present a good overview of the works and life of the maestro, using visual resources that turn the book into a show in its own right. The text, written by Sérgio Augusto, does not intend to serve as a biography, but is rather a light, pleasant and tight piece of information on Tom's life and music. One of the cool insights is that, in Portuguese, the chapters are not organized just chronologically, but also by the rate of importance of albums and songs, as if pointing out that the core of the music is not the year 1967 or 1976, but Wave or Urubu. Only the version in English is structured upon dates.

Among the delicacies, a statement in which Tom declares that Retrato em Branco e Preto was originally named Zíngaro, being "the story of a musician who pawns his violin and sits on a square, with nowhere to work, without his music". Chico Buarque was not moved by Zíngaro's tale and ended up writing the precious lyrics for Retrato, an anthem of the broken hearted.

Águas de Março and Waters of March
A whole chapter is dedicated to the song Águas de Março and its version in English, made by Jobim himself. The words (in Portuguese) written with a pencil and checked with a pen, are reproduced here. About the version in English, it says in the book that Tom wrote it in a hotel in New York City, "surrounded by dictionaries" and making a point about not using "a single word with Latin roots". To prove that, there are photos of envelopes of the Hotel Adams (Two East Eighty-Sixth Street, At Fifth Avenue, New York) totally scribbled with notes and words in English and their translations into Portuguese. The maestro shows his concern about the poetry: "In the lyrics in English for Águas de Março I shifted the approach, a bit. The Waters of March, there, are the waters of defrost. It's when the snow melts and the rivers start to flow again. It is another March, fresher than ours..."

The relations of Tom's music with the environment of classical music also pop up in statements and letters, like the one that he wrote to his son Paulo in October 1975, from New York, after watching the ballet Petrushka (music by Igor Stravinsky) with Claus Ogerman: "I cried with that impossible joy. (...)The music does not exist. Too much! (...)It's serial, bitchy music. The man's technique is not child's play." Or when he mentions Koellreuter, who introduced the dodecaphonic music in Brazil and was his music teacher, or yet about Villa-Lobos, who was a major influence: "Villa-Lobos is a revolutionary, he made modern music, but in Brazil, people think that a revolutionary should wear red shirts and use drugs. That's all too old. Villa-Lobos is new."

His main partners and influences are also highlighted in the book. His relationships with Vinicius de Moraes, João Gilberto, Elis Regina, Chico Buarque, Miúcha, Edu Lobo, Radamés Gnattali and Caymmi are all documented, as well as testimonies and pictures of his "retreat", a farm house in Poço Fundo (Rio de Janeiro), where he went deeper into ecologic themes, such as Matita Perê and Águas de Março.

Hyped all over the planet, Tom is the subject of web sites that have been put together to do him homage. The most important ones are Clube do Tom (jobim) a full guide to the maestro's music, and the Argentinean-based Tributo a Tom Jobim (tomjobim), now promoting a campaign for the construction of a museum in memory of Jobim. The publishing of the complete works of the author of Água de Beber, Luísa and Insensatez is a true blessing for musicians all over the world. Songwriters, arrangers, instrumentalists and students should get ready to purchase - in homeopathic doses, because the other volumes should come out by March - the definitive edition of the more than definitive works of the songwriter who best portrayed and summed up Brazil in words and music. The thousands of fans who cannot read music will be enjoying a fantastic art book, as precious as the legacy of Tom Jobim.

These songs are featured in the volume Obras Escolhidas
Valsa Sentimental (Imagina)
Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Você
Chega de Saudade
A Felicidade
Canta, Canta Mais
Eu Sei que Vou Te Amar
Samba de Uma Nota Só
Garota de Ipanema
The Girl From Ipanema
Água de Beber
Vivo Sonhando
Samba do Avião
Estrada do Sol
Por Causa de Você
Retrato em Branco e Preto
Chovendo na Roseira
Águas de Março
Matita Perê
O Boto
Saudades do Brasil
Falando de Amor
Two Kites
Anos Dourados
Piano na Mangueira
Samba de Maria Luísa