Bonfa, Jobim, and Bossa Nova

GETZ GILBERTOBrazilian bossa nova’s introduction to the U.S. thanks to composers Luiz Bonfá (Samba de Orfeu and Manhã de Carnaval), Antônio Carlos Jobim (Desafinado, Girl from Ipanema, Corcovado, etc.), and instrumentalists João Gilberto and Stan Getz literally transformed the jazz landscape overnight.

For the past 50 years, casual straight-ahead jazz gigs have invariably featured at least one bossa per set.

Familiarity with the following exercise will greatly enhance your facility with the melodic and harmonic nuances found in these wonderful compositions.  Here is the basic lick:


Here is a recording of the lick played in all 12 keys:

Develop your ear to flawlessly play passages such as this one in all 12 keys by downloading and working through “New Ears Resolution.”

A complete chart is found below.  (Bb instruments start at bar 1, concert key instruments start at bar 9, and Eb instruments start at bar 45.)


2 thoughts on “Bonfa, Jobim, and Bossa Nova

  1. Listening to Brazilian music, I can hear the relationship to Cape Verdian music It’s no wonder Horace Silver was one of the Jazz musicians who was influenced by Brazilian music which came by way of Portuguese influences. Stan Getz hired Horace. His playing was connected to cape Verdian music “Song for my Father” was a Cape Verdian old melody.
    Changing gears, Sonny Rollins used to come to the building i lived in with a friend (I forget his name) who played alto. They might have been high school age. They studied with a young musician in my house. This teacher was the son of Andy Kirk Jr., who had a great band at the time [The Twelve Clouds of Joy]. As far as his son, I know he taught a lot of the great bebop players. Whatever happened to him I do not know. I can remember events like yesterday. The house had all the great Afro-Americans of today Joe Louis, Erskine Hawkins, Cootie Williams, judges, lawyers, teachers, doctors, etc. The building should be a standard monument. Jackie Mclean was a friend of Sonny Rollins who came there for lesson. Those were the days! Another great musician I left out who was from Cape Verdian was Paul Gonsalves who played with Duke Ellington. What a great era!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Alexander, for these rich reminiscences! “The Cape Verdean Blues” has long been one of my favorite Horace Silver songs, but i had no idea Horace was actually from that archipelago, nor did i have a clue that Duke Ellington’s great tenor sax man Paul Gonsalves boasted Cape Verdean ancestry. Reading about that country makes me wish i could visit there. Their music especially sounds wonderful.


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