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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bossa-Like Improv

It's hard to remember when I first heard Brazilian music. It seems to always have been a part of me or around me, and it probably was; I just didn't know what it was or what to call it. For instance, my dad also use to play "Girl from Ipanema" all the time, and eventually, he taught it to me at a young age. I was probably ten years old when I first was finally able to get my little hands to play the chords to that beautiful song. I loved that song. My dad and I would play it together, trading solos and melody. It opened my mind to a new type of sound.

Later on (in high school), I got really heavy into the Brazilian sound. I truly fell in love with it. My first amor Brasileiro was Antonio Carlos Jobim. As I might have mentioned before, while in my senior year of high school, I'd buy a CD once a week, and I specifically remember going into Best Buy in McAllen, Texas to grab that Jobim album (Verve Jazz Masters series, you know)
Antonio Carlos Jobim

I still listen to this album frequently. There are so many classic songs on that disc: "Corcovado (Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars)," "Desafinado (Off Key)," "Insensatez," and "Triste" are my favorites. Everything about this record is so wonderful, from the recording quality to the
smooth vocal style.

Eventually, my exploration of Brazil led me to many other great artists and art forms, such as Edu Lobo, Sergio Mendes, Joao Gilberto, Gilberto Gil, Bebel Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Moreno Veloso, Grupo de Capoeira Angola Pelourinho (and the Brazilian martial arts of Capoeira is truly fascinating), Celso Fonseca, Seu Jorge, Suba, etc., and I must mention that City of God is probably my number one favorite film of all time.

Now, in the following video, I'm only improvising a progression that has bossa-like qualities. I repeat it has bossa-like qualities; this is not necessarily bossa nova. That is a genre that has specific characteristics that we can take a look at much closer in videos to come. I've experienced playing bass with many musicians who taught me what is and is not acceptable when playing bossa nova and samba, for that matter, too. Bossa Nova and Samba are only two types of Brazilian styles that deserve lots of respect. Let's not confuse the issue.

Below, I'm playing outside the parameters of bossa nova and just having fun with the chords, which by the way are:

Db maj 7 (also written Db ∆7, which is made up of the notes - Db F Ab C)
C minor 7 (also written C-7)
F -7
Bb 7

Db maj 7 (also written Db ∆7, which is made up of the notes - Db F Ab C)
C minor 7 (also written C-7)
F -7 (F Ab C Eb) | Eb -7 (Eb Gb Bb Db)
Ab 7 (Ab C Eb Gb) | F-7 Eb-7

F -7
F#7 (F# A# C# E)
G -7 (G Bb D F)

Soon, we will take a look at chords, their construction, and related scales. Slowly, it will all begin to intertwine and make perfect sense. For beginners who are patient with themselves will go farther and exceed in their playing and understanding of their instrument.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you like this improv.

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Loretta said...


I swear I could hear Astrud humming along con su "bossa-like" quality playing. . . tengo chills! You definitely captured the essence de la música de Brasil.

It's funny to read how you bought CD's in high school, when my first CD didn't happen until Eric and I got married in 1985. . . my first? . . Anita Baker, which I still have!

Me gusta tambien la música de Jobim. I still have his original LP's, Wave y Tide.

I love "Doralice" from Stan Getz and João Gilberto y "Só Danço Samba"

Y Suba, ai que pobrecito, el se murió la manera antes de su tiempo. He was amazing!!

Thanks to you, primo, I am now listening to someone new. . .Celso.

I am looking forward to seeing Azymuth when they visit the U.S., pero they are more like Weather Report than samba o bossa nova. Pero la hija de Alex Malheiros es muy buena . . . Sabrina Malheiros. Ella es mucho como Bebel.

Very nice playing. . . I have to listen again.

buenos noches

Melanie said...

I remember the "Girl from Impanema" I used to really like that song as well, and it was one that would get stuck in my head for days. :) The other song I recall from around the same time was Never On a Sunday.. a little different, but I somehow tie them together. Funny how your brain files things.

I really did enjoy your improv. Very nice, and rather relaxing.

I don't have a bass, so not sure I can really take advantage of the lessons as bass lessons, but it does help with appreciating all of the different types of styles which makes the music even more enjoyable to me. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I keep telling people, especially bass players about your video lessons. :)

BTW, I saw Eisley last night. I'm really excited about seeing the upcoming tour. Two very different, but great styles. :)

the Napalm Cupid said...

That was BEAUTIFUL!!! I had no idea that anyone could get that sound out of a four string bass!?! I loved it... Maybe you should just make an entire CD of that kind of thing. I would love it anyway.

Vintage cab used on MM debut (two 15" Jensen speakers).