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Blue Bossa

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by W32Hybris, Jan 18, 2004.

  1. W32Hybris


    Jan 18, 2004
    south Florida
    Hello, I was recently invited to play at my school's Senior "Senior" Prom, and one of the songs I will be playing is Blue Bossa. The Arrangement we will be playing is by Kenny Dorham, and goes like this:

    || Cmi6 | % | Fmi7 | % | Dmi7(b5) | G7(#9#5) | Cmi6 | % | Ebmi7 | Ab7 | Dbmaj7 | % | Dmi7(b5) | G7(#9#5) | Cmi6 | % :||

    There is more to the song, but that is all we are playing.

    Right now, I am playing just the root and the 5th, but it's getting boring. Can anyone suggest any ideas to spice it up a bit? Fills maybe?

    Some arpeggios that I know that are relevant:

    any input is welcome
  2. I don't think I would busy up a bossa too much. The whole style is based around the syncopations in the rythm section. Maybe walking around the turn arounds a bit or asking the other players if they're comfortable with substitutions would help you have more fun with it. Or just ask for a solo :cool:
  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I didnt know this until I saw a band play blue bossa live recently... but the progression you're playing is exactly the same as the "unbranded" version on the Aebersold CD I have.

    There's many more experienced on TB at this sort of thing, but what I do when I play this is something like...

    root, 5th over the C
    move over the F using scale tones
    then to highlight the turnaround: accent the b5 and/or min7 in the D
    use the altered chord tones somehow in the G, e.g. root, #2, 3, #5, or a brief fill using the #9 and 10. this strengthens the resolve into the C- again. doesnt need much bass activity tho

    Actually I find it sounds good to play a b9 (Ab) in the G as well... not sure if that's the recording I have, my ears or what?
    The aebersold sheet says G7+9 - which I read as G7#9 - as per your post, but I find the b9 sounds 'nicer' so I often play Ab root plus octave (b2,b9) and it works!? Why?! Heck I dunno?!

    Also, as it says in the aebersold book, you need to play the 3rd and 7ths in the key change (II-V-I in Db) so I do something like root,3,5 in Eb, 5th down into root of Ab, then play the DbM7 arpeggio and then you just sharpen the Db to move into the turnaround again, Dmin7b5...

    As ole Jason says, it doesnt really need much, there is plenty of room to noodle, but the bossa groove is the key.


    p.s. still learning this one myself really, so if any of thisis nonsense, i apologise.

    if you find any nice lines, do share :)
  4. W32Hybris


    Jan 18, 2004
    south Florida
    thanks for the responses!

    and yes, I forgot to mention that I am doing the root 3rd for the G and the root/...
    ...yeah, theory sucks. I do this for the D:


    thanks for the ideas though, I'll mess around with them tonight and see what I can come up with.

    Also, I neglected to mention that there will be 1-2 other bass players there. One will be doing a bass solo and hte other doing the melody, so I'll have to be careful that whatever I do doesn't mess up the frequencies too much :)

    rock on :bassist:
  5. You'll be fine. If you get a recording of that put it up on here I'd like to hear it. Have fun
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Good luck. But if you can't learn the tune, I suggest SOLAR FLAIR
  7. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
  8. W32Hybris


    Jan 18, 2004
    south Florida
    eh? sry I'm nto much of a theory guy :D

    what we're playing doesn't sound like a bossa nova at ALL. let me rephrase. AT ALL .

    it grooooooves

    I've got somethin pretty cool goin now, as soon as i can get a 1/4" to [little headphone jack size] i'll record it :)
  9. bassmantele


    Jul 22, 2003
    Boston MA USA
    Get the original on CD and listen closely. When you play, leave lots of space. Think simple, rhythmic and tasty, not busy. People should know it's a bossa nova even if you're the only one playing.
  10. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Gotcha. Thanks v-much :)

    Absolutely, I'm starting out!

    Just FYI - in the aebersold book, it says that you should use the 3rd and 7th to highlight the key change... which I assume is a a learning tool, a start point - to get you to hear the key change when you play it.
    I suggested arpeggios as a simple example really :)

    Also, incedentally, the tune I'm talking about is solar flair - what I referred to as the "aebersold unbranded version" earlier. The only difference being that the C chords are just minor, rather than minor6... a neglidgeable difference if you're only playing root+5th over those two bars :D
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Howard - you have more knowledge about this stuff than the vast majority of people I meet at Jazz Summerschool - you should come this year!!

    They have a "tongue in cheek" rule for jam sessions there : any soloist who plays more than 10 choruses on Blue Bossa wil have their hands broken!!

  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    >>> Maybe, but I'm all talk and no trousers! I dont have the playing experience of jazz in a group. I can jam and I can read a chart slowly, but "holding it down" while other players noodle their noggins off, while playing a nice smooth walk - well, I'm still working on that!

    You're right tho.. maybe I should.. hmmm :meh:
    Details, I need details!

  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  14. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Makes more sense.. you'd probably have your hands broken after ten bars of bass solo.. providing of course anyone could actually hear it!
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But you should come along to the Summerschool and put all this into practice!!

    I recommend it to anyone - loads of playing and great fun!!

    So - you can go for one or two weeks - from Sunday to Friday.

    The thing about this one, is that is all based around playing - in small groups - like a real Jazz combo.

    So - you get assigned to a group and stay with a Jazz pro tutor for the whole week, getting to work together as a group during the day - but you can also form your own groups and there are also open jam sessions every early afternoon/evening - followed by the "Jazz Club" - where there are performances from student and tutor groups in the student union bar which has a nice stage and great atmosphere once it gets going - until about 12.30.

    It's my favourite holiday of the year!! :)
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    PS - the brochure for 2004 isn't out yet - this has the application form, prices, accommodation details etc.

    It actually takes place at the end of July - but you usually have to apply by about March/April and pay a small deposit (£10-15)as it does get full up, pretty quickly!

    But the link above, gives some basic info...
  17. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I went home for lunch today... playing around with this song a bit, found this...

    Over the F-7 (so moving into D-7b5) it sounds great if you play F root, then GMajor7 arpeggio and AbMajor7 arpeggio to move into the D... of course you dont have to play the arpeggio exactly, that's just what I found... a start point for development basically

    There's a bunch of shared notes between each of those three chords depending on which scale yuou take the chord from (that I cant be faffed to type right now), and the G to Ab movement of the Major7 chord sounds "nice n' jazzy" coz it be chromatic innit

    You can also walk, using loadsa chromatics through the D-7b5 and G7 chords back to the tonic...

    My advice, learn a few chords, Major7, minor7, dominant7 and minor7b5 - and this song will become a lot easier!
  18. Thanks for idea Howard, I'll try that out later tonight when I practice. Adding the b9 to the G sounded great, I had never thought of that before haha. My group played this song for awhile tonight, if you're not dead set on keeping it a traditional bossa you can migrate to related latin styles pretty easily to mix things up. We do the changes as a sambo a couple times during the solos. I think playing it as a calypso would work well too. Also, because the traditional bossa drumset part is similar to a rock beat you can migrate to a light funk groove and slap a bit. I find a little rythmic variation helps things along moreso than trying to add fills and such, that could just be the way my group works though.
  19. Slot


    Oct 17, 2003
    Sydney - The Shire
    Also ....

    as some already said, wherever there is a #9, a b9 is also always implied.

    But the same go's with #5's and b5's.

    So whenever you see a dominant chord with a #5(G7#5#9), the b5 will also be a strong note to hit. Or it can be reversed, likewise when dealing with 9ths.
  20. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    That runs a bit contrary to my experience actually. Actually a chord notated as G7#5#9 is a bit silly IMO because what it means to the eyes/ears of a jazz musician is G7 alt.

    At the same a chord notated as G7#11 (or b5) doesen't really imply a #5/b6. The Dominant #11 chord is actually derived from the jazz melodic minors 4th mode, which is sometimes reffered to as lydian mixolydian scale, and the #5 is NOT a part of that scale.

    Either way, almost any note can work on a dominant chord if played with intention and conviction. For practicing it might be convenient to know that some of the common scales that apply to dominant chords are for example these:

    X7: Mixolydian scale.
    Xb9#9: Half-whole diminished.
    Xalt: Superlocrian scale (7th mode of jazz melodic minor)
    X#11: Mixolydian #4.

    And.. there are of course very many more possibilities.