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Bbmi/Ab bossa, I'm confused...

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by jfh2424, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. Hello all!

    I'm currently learning a bossa tune. I don't have a lot of experience.

    I was confronted by a chord: Bbmi/Ab. I understand that this is a Bb minor chord with an Ab in the bass. However, I'm not sure which notes I should play. Do I treat this like a regular Bb minor chord, so I play Bb followed by F? Do I play Bb followed by Ab? Do I play Ab followed by Bb?

    Thanks so much for all your help!

  2. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Yes - You need to play an Ab under the Bbmi chord.
    Also - what chords come before and after this chord? Just wondering.
    Seanto and geoffbassist like this.
  3. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Context is everything... what are the chords in the progression? What's the name of the tune? Do you have a recording? and if so, what did the bassist on the recording play?

    In general, you can play whatever notes sound good to your ear, but the notes in that Bb-/Ab chord are Ab Bb Db F and you can play any of those notes that sound good to you. Since the composer took the time to specify an Ab in the bass, that'd likely be a good choice for beat 1. For beat 3, then, you could pick the 3rd of the Bb- chord and play the Db which would help outline the harmony. Playing the Bb on beat 3 can also sound good. Hope that helps.
  4. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    See 0:24 - 0:29.
    A good example of a Bossa feel where the chords are Bbmin to Bbmin/Ab. Notice how the bassist plays an TON of Ab under the Bbmin chord.
    Dabndug likes this.
  5. Hello Gents.

    Wow, thanks for your helpful and insightful replies.

    The tune is called Rhythm of our World. It is by Arturo Sandoval. I am subbing for a practice in a big band. My reading is really not good. This tune is breaking my balls...

    Most of the tune is sight reading, which is difficult enough. But then we go into a samba part which isn't written, it's just chords. Right before this chord is a measure of Bbmi9. Then comes the famous chord of Bm9/Ab. Into a Gbma7.

    So I'm just trying to do the minimum here, just holding down the fort until their bassist comes back. As you can understand from my posts, I'm not a great reader and I really don't belong in this advanced big band situation.

    I'd like to bass my bassline on what the original bassist is playing, as you suggested. But it's so damn fast, I can't really hear what is played. Or my ear training is not good enough, which is probably the case.

    So I'm going to play the notes of the Bbm triad (Bb, Db, F) and include the Ab. I'm guessing it's important to include the Ab, since I'm the bass. So I'll be sure to include that, I'll play it first, as suggested.

    Thanks again!

  6. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    This might help...During the Samba/Solo section, the bassist plays this pattern - an Ab DOWN to an Eb under the Bbmin chord.
    See starting at 2:03.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
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  7. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    When a seventh is specified in the bass, it is usually in a short (1 or 2 beats) transition to the VI or vi chord (sometimes the iii). You indicate that the next chord is indeed a VI, so yes, you have the job of the stepwise transition. Congratulations!
  8. Thanks to you three. I really appreciate it!

    Don Kasper likes this.
  9. I've played it several times. I use Ab - Eb - Ab under the Bbmi7/Ab chord. I belive that's what's being played on the original too. Do not start on a Bb! That ruins the function of the chord. Just Ab - Eb - Ab, and maybe Ab dominant scale if you do some runs.
    Wasnex and Don Kasper like this.
  10. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Oh yes it is.

    In a big band setting, Job Number One is, "Do not step on anybody." If the bass trombone, piano part or baritone sax is playing Ab, you can play whatever you hear as long as your ears are bigger than the bass part. Listen up and enjoy!
    Tom Lane likes this.
  11. Bbm/Ab is Bbm7 chord played in third inversion ie. Ab as the root.
    Ab Bb Db F

    It’s not uncommon to hear bass play Ab Eb (although it’s not in the chord) it can work when it doesn’t clash with the melody.
  12. Did you mean B FLAT m9/Ab ?

    It’s safe to only play an Ab throughout that chord. Definitely play Ab at the start of the chord if you plan to play other notes too.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
    Don Kasper likes this.
  13. lurk


    Dec 2, 2009
    If there's a Ab in the bass, it's a Ab chord. The thing is to figure out what kind it is. Screw around with other notes after you hit that Ab and see what you like. It's that simple. No fancy theory required. If you're gonna be an improvising musician you've got to overcome all fear of making mistakes.
  14. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Disagree - The Ab in the bass is the 7th of the Bbmin7 chord. Very common Root Movement - coming from a Bbmin7 chord and leading (stepwise) to to a Gbmaj7 chord.
    This is NOT an "Ab......"chord.
    IMFO, of course.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
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  15. lurk


    Dec 2, 2009
    Oops. Should have read the thread more carefully. Of course it's a bass line movement from Bb- to Gb. I thought it was a Bb-/Ab just sitting for a few beats.
    Sam Sherry and Don Kasper like this.
  16. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Thanks, lurk.
    Sam Sherry likes this.
  17. Silevesq


    Oct 2, 2010
    @Don Kasper I'm curious to know how are you hearing the Bbm7/Ab. Do you hear the Ab as the 7th? Or?
  18. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Hi Silevesq- Yes. I hear the Ab as the 7th of the Bbmin7 chord passing from the Bbmin7 chord toward the Gbmaj7 chord. See the A. Sandoval YouTube above - start at 2:20 - the harmony there is Bbmin7, Bbmin7/Ab, Gbmaj7.
    I hear the Ab as part of the Bbmin7 chord, functioning as a (diatonic) link to the Gbmaj7 chord. In other words, the Bbmin7 chord appears first in Root position, then in 3rd Inversion (with the Ab, the 7th in the bass), leading smoothly to the Gbmaj7 chord.
    Thanks for your interest.
    Silevesq and Tom Lane like this.
  19. GutJazz


    Mar 5, 2019
    Roma - Italy
    You're expected to play Ab, stay on it. Fundamental always work, specially in big ensemble. Also try - following changes - Bb,F/Ab,F/Gb,...
  20. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    The whole reason it's written Bbmin, Bbmin/Ab, Gb is that they want you to play a descending pattern Bb, Ab, Gb. Otherwise they would have just written it as Bbmin 7. So I would suggest doing that.
    Povl Carstensen likes this.

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