In this bass guitar lesson ‘Blue Bossa For Beginners’ we’re going to discuss how to play the legendary Latin Jazz or Bossa Nova Tune “Blue Bossa” which was originally made famous by sax player Joe Henderson.
If you’re in the early stages of learning how to play jazz on the bass guitar the chances are you are going to see this tune! Blue Bossa is one of a handful of songs that you’ll come across time and time again on Jazz Jam Sessions the world over.
If you’d like to get the backing track used in this lesson so make sure you check out the eBassGuitar Jazz Jam Backing Track Album Volume 1 where you can get a whole backing track album of the most common Jazz Tunes found on jazz jam sessions… made especially for bass guitar.
Blue Bossa is a 16 bar melody / chord sequence written by Kenny Dorham which combines jazz chord sequences / harmony with the straight 8th Bossa Nova Groove from South America.
When you first start out learning the Jazz there’s a good chance you’ll spend a lot of time learning how to play swing or walking bass lines. Latin feels such as the Bossa Nova are also very common in Jazz so it’s a good idea to get a solid understanding of how to approach these grooves too.
In this bass lesson I’m going to show you the most common version of the Bossa Nova groove that I have experienced. This one bar groove is a great place to start.
Bossa Nova Bass Line 1
A typical Bossa Nova Groove typically uses roots and fifths as its foundation. In this first example we are using the ‘Upper Fifth’. I would advise getting super comfortable with the first bar of this tune in isolation… then take the pattern through the rest of the 16 bar chord sequence.
Bossa Nova Bass Line 2
The next variation we are going to look at is using the Lower Fifth. With the exception of the Dm7b5 chords I would recommend ‘barring’ with the fretting hand because the Lower Fifth normally falls at the same fret, but one string below. The tab fretting below shows this.
Bossa Nova Bass Line 3
In this last example we are going to alternate playing the Upper 5th and The Lower 5th creating a two bar pattern. This concept is particularly effective when there are two bars on chord because we can hit the octave on the first beat of the second bar. This creates a musical shape which sounds very pleasing to the ear.
Lesson Wrap Up
As I said right at the start of this lesson the Bossa Nova groove is very commonly found on Jazz gigs and Blue Bossa is the most seminal ‘Latin’ tune found on Jazz Jam Sessions… so this lesson is great fundamental learning, especially if you’re just starting out playing jazz..
Learning Walking Bass will give you all the note choices you need to start expanding on the Bossa Nova groove by adding passing notes and fills.
If you’re a beginner to intermediate bass player and want to take this lesson to the next level we have a whole Walking Bass Course inside the Bass Lab PLUS membership. - Join FREE Today with a 14 day trial.
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Good luck and get stuck in!