Huge forces do not translate into "symphonic." Nor do compositions that reflect a songwriter's influences, such as Debussy, Ravel, Bach, Chopin and, least surprising, the Brazilian master Heitor Villa-Lobos. Sorry, Tom (that was Jobim's nickname), this lovingly produced tribute to you is misnamed. That doesn't mean the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, a number of unnamed singers and guest Milton Nascimento wasted their time or talents. This double album, recorded live in Sao Paulo in 2002, is just brimming with gorgeous arrangements of lovely ballads, sambas, waltzes and miniature wannabe tone poems that belong on movie sound tracks. With some charts by Nelson Riddle, Claus Ogerman, Eumir Deodato and Jobim himself (arrangers are not specifically credited), all that great material belongs on the ubiquitous Pops programs that extend the season for many symphony players.
While there is not a "classical" composition among the 23 tracks, there is not one jazz lick to be heard. So we're in that vast limbo between jazz and classical where so much beauty is available. Just want you to know what you're buying. If you need good romantic background music, you'll never go wrong with Jobim. Only one caveat: There's a lot of enthusiastic applause.