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  • bossa nova

    A Brief History of the Bossa Nova

    by Simon James




    The Bossa Nova literally translates as New Trend, and has become a staple form in Jazz Standard repertoire since it grew in popularity from its origins in Brazil in the 1960s. In Brazil, to do something with bossa, means to do it with flair and style. The rich artistic boom in the beach culture of Brazil permeated into music and the Bossa Nova grew as a fusion of Samba and Jazz Music, taking its roots in the more upscale areas of Rio as opposed to the Samba, which was more favoured in the poorer favelas.

    The Bossa Nova is most commonly performed with a nylon string guitar and played by using fingers rather than a pick. In its purest form it can consist of just guitar and vocals but even in larger scale jazz orchestras there is always a nylon string guitar in the accompaniment. Piano although not as important as the guitar is also used in Bossa Nova.

    Famous Bossa Nova Songs in Jazz Standard Repertoire include the “Girl From Ipanema,” “Blue Bossa” and the Dave Brubeck album Bossa Nova USA. Other examples of it in popular music includes the Beatles’ “And I Love Her,” the Doors’ “Break On Through to the Other Side,” The Kinks’ “No Return,” and George Michael’s “Jesus To A Child.”




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