Jair Amorim

About Jair Amorim

At 15, his family moved to Colatina, ES, a larger city where Jair could get proper instruction. His high-school studies took place in Petrópolis, RJ, at Colégio São Vicente de Paula. At 13, he was already writing unrecorded versions for international hits. He was heading for university studies, but his dad's passing would change his plans, and young Jair begun to work at Diário da Manhã newspaper. Learning the métier, passed through all functions of that paper; but his passion was music. Making the coverage of a play in which acted singer and composer Custódio Mesquita, he was somewhat ironic, commenting that Custódio, as an interpreter, was a good composer. This statement brought him to the attention of Custódio's, who wanted to know him. Boldly, naïve Jair proposed partnership to him, but Custódio, already established as composer, refused-was when Jair understood he had to move to a larger scene to be taken seriously. Glued to the radio broadcastings, in 1940 would direct the Rádio Clube do Espírito Santo, where he produced and created several shows and made his début as speaker. At that time, he already was writing lyrics for the duo Moacir Araújo and Clóvis Cruz, and lyrics for blocos carnavalescos of Vitória. Deciding for the move to Rio, in 1941, he would face dire straits as freelance writer of radio chronicles for magazines Carioca and Vamos ler. He only received if the works were published, so he had to resort to a friend with influence, lawman Clóvis Ramalhete, who succeeded in getting him an opportunity as speaker for Rádio Clube do Brasil. Doing various jobs as light writer and advertiser, he was after his dream of becoming a composer. And he thought he was getting closer, as in that broadcast outing he would knew his long-time idol José Maria de Abreu, radio's pianist and composer of success. But José Maria, saddened by the death of his partner Francisco Matoso, hadn't any interest in composing anymore. Always alert for any opportunity, Jair used to spend time at the station after his shift was over. In one of these occasions, he learned casually through radio actor Arnaldo Amaral that he was after a Brazilian version of the international hit "Maria Elena, by Mexican Lorenzo Barcelata. "If you want, I'll make it", said Jair. Half hour later, he came with the version. Arnaldo recorded it soon after through Continental, and it was a hit. That opened the door for José Maria, who approached the young composer: "I have some melodies, what do you think of listening to them...?". The duo would come up with "Bem Sei," a success from 1942. In the following 10 years, they would create the hits "Um cantinho e você"(1948), "Ponto Final"(1949) e "Alguém com tu"(1952). In 1944, Jair was hired for the cast of the prestigious Rádio Nacional, where he'd be appointed exclusively for the presentation of the presidential acts. Worked afterwards at the Rádio Mundial (where he'd have a successful show titled Discos na Vitrina) and Rádio Mayrink Veiga. During that time, he'd be acquainted with the more prestigious composers of the time, and would become part of the musical scene of Brazil. He became friends with Lamartine Babo, João de Barro and Dunga. With the last one he'd compose "Conceição," song made famous by the extremely popular singer Cauby Peixoto, who made it his own, in the good sense. With Alcyr Pires Vermelho, Jair made, among other hits, "Se alguém telefonar." Other highly acclaimed and proficient singers such as Dick Farney and Sílvio Caldas would give prestige to his production. As a music critic, he was sometimes acid and ironic. When the important composer Ari Barroso involved himself in a polemic denouncing corruption and payola around Carnival music, giving names such as the disk-jockey Oldemar Magalhães, from Rádio Tupi, who was notorious for abusing of his position to be given authorship of Carnival sambas, the magazine Revista do Rádio gave some room to the argument. Oldemar refused to feed the fire, but Jair, as composer, journalist and musical programmer for radio stations, replied in the sense that Ari was history, that he was good once but couldn't produce anymore, so he acted moved by resentment. He even compared Ari with the Uruguayan soccer player who commanded the conquer of World Cup of 1950: "Ari Barroso is the Obdulio Varela of Brazilian music: argues a lot because he knows he's playing so little". Jair would live to swallow his pride: soon afterwards, "Risque," by Ari Barroso, became a huge success, and Ari was happy to see that Jair was obliged to include his samba-canção in the Revista do Rádio as the biggest hit of the season. As secretary of a copyright agency, UBC, he'd know Evaldo Gouveia in 1958, and in that very day they would come up with "Conversa," recorded later by Alaíde Costa (Victor)). They are still active as partners, having composed more than 150 songs. Their preference is for boleros, but they compose as well sambas-canção, valses, marchas-rancho, tender ballads and other styles. Miltinho recorded, in 1962, "Poema do Olhar," and Morgana "E a vida continua." In 1963, they composed "Samba sem pim-pom," "O bilhete"and "Serenata da chuva." Altemar Dutra, a romantic singer extremely popular at that time, supporting a similar crush for dramatic, saddened music and lyrics (known in Brazil as "fossa" or "dor-de-cotovelo"), became their most faithful interpreter. He was the interpreter of "Tudo de mim"(1963), "Sentimental demais," "O trovador," "Que queres tu de mim," "Somos iguais"(all of 1964). Wilson Simonal recorded in 1965 "Garota moderna." Jair Rodrigues, "O conde"(1969). "Minha valsa para você" dates from the next year. The samba school of Portela disputed the 1973 Carnival with their samba-enredo "O mundo melhor de Pixinguinha." Jair Amorim can't be described as a revoluctionary. He was, however, the bearer of the torch of sentimentalism, inherited by Brazilians from Portuguese colonizers. Tough his grandiloquent, emotional style knew decline after bossa nova, it was recovered by Tropicália. As much as we want, the shadow of dramatic, histrionic, theatrical is never gone, always hiding in the dark recesses of Brazilian soul. ~ Alvaro Neder