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What to play over a bossa-nova / latin type beat?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by parrott, Apr 25, 2003.

  1. My band has taken a new, latin-jazz direction, mostly bossa-nova.

    And I don't have a clue what to do/play. I don't even know where to start.

    Please help me!

    EDIT: okay, that's probably a bit vague, but I really don't have a clue where to even start.

    As far as I can tell, it's just bossa-nova, but that's just what my bandmates say.

    What songs/records should I try and get my hands on to hear some examples?

    *is totally clueless*
  2. JazZ-A-LoT


    Jan 5, 2003
    My band has a couple bossa-nova tunes in our mostly be-bop set. I dont have a clue how to play it properly. So I play funk :) no joke works good and the odd fill, but I am also curious to know how to play it properly.
  3. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Uhh... try Stan Getz ("girl from ipanema" is his most famous)

    Check out the Afro-Cuban All-Stars or Buena Vista Social Club. Cachaito (sp?) is their bassist. He's pretty kick-ass on the upright.

    Learn about what a Clave is. Someone else will have to explain it...

    Not an expert here by any stretch, but you say you're clueless...
  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Triads, triads, triads.
    Either simply root-5 or 3 notes arpeggios with the 3rd, and walk your way between the chords by passing notes on 7ths and blue notes.
    The idea is to get a "balancing" feeling.
    Listen to what the "old school" played. Stan Getz, Astrud and Joao Gilberto, Tito Puente, Chico Buarque, ... it's all there.
  5. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    This is a style of music that you must listen to in order to play it correctly.
    Listen to "Desifinado" by Antonio Carlos Jobim,this was considered the "anthem" of the Bossa Nova when the style was created by Jobim and Joao Gilberto in the early 60's.You can find it on a very popular,important album by Stan Getz,"Jazz Samba".
    There is a defined rhythm the bass plays that typifies the bossa nova,the rhythm and syncopations must be seamless for the Bossa to maintain it's momentum.It's characterized by anticipation's of the beat.Note wise root/5 is often played and chord tones are used for linking the harmonic movement(chord changes)Dissonance in the bass is not part of the style.You have to Listen!!There is'nt the means here to tell you what to play.
    The Bossa(and latin music in general)is felt in "2",or cut time,not "4",or common time.There is also an element of "swing",that is the rhythm's are not played "straight".
    Don't just play anything,that is not in
    the spirit or intent of this music.
    The Bossa Nova is a very beautiful,lyrical and simple music when played with authenticity.You have to listen to it!!!
  6. There´s one book by Lincoln Goines... it´s called Funkifying the Clave... it was published by Manhattan Music Publications.... it´s very good...

    There´s other by Manny Patiño (Afro-Cuban Grooves)... Published by Warner Brothers...

    Attached you may find a little groove (Bossa) based on the Girl of Ipanema Changes.... as Ad Jazz said root + 5th + 3rd will make it... take your time analyzing the notes over the chord...

    Wish you luck on the quest for the eternal groove... send my an email off the list... if you need list of songs... repertoire... etc...


  7. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    The rhythm and note choices are correct but it's very important to make the distinction in the time signature.A bossa nova and other Latin styles(with the exception of hybrid or fusion styles)are felt in "2".The subdivision of the bar is in "2" not "4".And it must be notated as cut time.If you play with someone that knows the music,the tune will be counted off in "2".If you're thinking in "4" you'll be a bar behind,the changes will be twice as fast as you think they are.
    Really important to learn to feel the music in "2",it goes right to the heart of the style.
  8. You´re right I forgot to make it 2x2 Cut Time.... It´s the most important thing the feel....
  9. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    Hiya, a slap book that I bought some time back has a few examples in a bosa nova beat, if you want I'll type them up on here? It's pretty simple to learn and sounds good.
  10. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    I thought bossa was originally from Portugal, and Samba from Brazil. :confused:

    But I'm pretty clueless...
  11. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    You're still simplifying and incorrect,and that's why when"jazz" bands that play"latin" sound like crap.Listen to some real dudes play the style.It swings!Speaks,flows and is life affirming.If you have'nt done alot of listening and study of the style,or been raised in it,you can't just play it.The rhythms are indigenous to a culture.It's not about guessing.
  12. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Have a cognac and listen to Bill Evans and Jim Hall play "Turn out the stars",that's jazz.
  13. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Getting a mite bit snippy, are we both ;)

    Just to chime in here, there's good jazz and bad jazz. I think that jazz at its *worst* takes a living, breathing (if formulaic) music like latin (in all/any of its "indigenous" forms) and turns it into lifeless elevator music.

    Jazz at its *best* takes a living, breathing, formulaic form and systematically breaks some of those formulas down in a creative and expressive way, showing the beauty of the form in a new light.

    So let's all drink our cognac and play good music. (I have to practice some more first...)
  14. Practice "Blue Bossa" (I prefer Chick Corea's version) using triads...I like a "root-fifth-fifth" pattern, and I go from there...
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    If you;re tryingto play bossa nova - then don't model your basslines on the Afro-Cuban All-Stars - great band I've seen them live 3 times - but they play a completely different type of music!

    BossaNova is Brazilian and Cuban music is very different - especially the bass lines!
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    No - both are from Brazil. Samba is derived from the large marching bands that accompany carnival. Bossa Nova is a much quieter guitar-based music, but still from Brazil.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well - Blue Bossa is more Jazz than Bossa - the real Brazilian Bossa tends to be stripped down = guitar with very minimal percussion. Very simple basslines that don't deviate much from root-fifth of the chord.

    The only thing that might fool newcomers is that Bossa Nova composers have favoured chords that might be unfamiliar to people who haven't played Jazz - so the minor 7th chord with flattened fifth (half-diminished) crops up quite frequently.

    So if you play a 'normal' fifth against one of these it is going to sound very wrong - out a semi-tone.
  18. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    I think the confusion comes from the fact that the lyrics to Jobims first Bossa's were in Portugese.

    "you could call bossa nova a clean,washed samba,without loss of momentum."

    "the authentic Negro samba in Brazil is very primitive.They use maybe 10 percussion instruments and 4 or 5 singers.They shout and the music is very hot and wonderful....but bossa nova is cool and contained."

  19. Bruce, thats why I said go with Chick Corea's version of Blue Bossa...although thank you for mentioning the minor 7th chord with a flattened 5th chord point. I was just too lazy to type it all out like that, so I figured people would just assume... :rolleyes:
  20. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Jobim wrote the lyrics in Portuguese because Portuguese is the language of Brazil, Brazil having been a Portuguese colony.

    Also advice given in some posts above to listen to Buena Vista Social Club and Cachaito will not prove helpful for the purposes of developing a bossa nova 'feel", because Cuban music is very distinct from Samba and bossa nova. First, Cuban music is sung in Spanish, not Portuguese. Secondly, the rhythm is very different, even some of the instruments. Brazilian music uses the berimbau, for instance.

    Also, playing a funk beat to a bossa nova would take the music out of the bossa nova genre and put it elsewhere. I'm not saying that would be bad. I'm all for innovations and novel approaches to music. What I am saying, however, is that if you are seeking a genuine bossa nova feel, you must play a genuine bossa nova bassline. The genre is recognized by its "feel."

    I lived in Brazil three years at the height of the Bossa Nova movement. It is still one of my favorite forms of music, but I have had the fortune to hear some of the very best practitioners play it. The same goes for Samba and "musica carnivalesca." Samba is best heard live. There is no recording that captures the feel and emotion of that music, believe me. Samba is different from boss nova, though. OK, maybe samba could be described as the mother of bossa nova, but is as different as I am from my own mother.

    I go with ConU's advice and Bruce Lindfield's to buy some bossa nova CDs of Stan Getz, Jobim, and Laurindo Almeida and listen until you can't listen any more. I love Getz's. Also the soundtrack from "Black Orfeus" was one of the groundbreaking works of bossa nova and popularized the music. That CD might be hard to find, but I know they sell it at Amazon.com.

    Try to avoid the watered down lounge music bossa nova that robbed the genre of much of its beauty and creativity, causing many folks to disparage a beautiful genre of music.

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