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Bass Lines with Jaime Vazquez: 3/4 Bossa Nova


Bass Lines with Jaime Vazquez: 3/4 Bossa Nova

Hello bass players and fans of bass playing!

For this month, we will work with the “odd time” Bossa Nova. We all know that one of the most popular song forms from Brazil is called the Bossa Nova. For decades it has been part of the rhythmic language of popular music around the world, especially in jazz. Like Latin music, Brazilian music has the concept of using a clave to play they’re rhythmic patterns.

So, the “3 / 4 Bossa Nova” has its own clave as shown in Figure 1.


Watch the movement of the upbeats in the first two beats of every bar. The bass line is difficult to feel at first. Let’s look at the bass line pattern at Fig. 2.

As you can see, the bass pattern looks like a typical samba bass line. The difference is that it will be played at a medium tempo as we do with a Bossa Nova. My advice is to take your time and practice this pattern until it become comfortable to play. Then, you can play Fig. 3, my version of Mongo Santamaria’s Afro-Blue in a 3/4 Bossa Nova.

Have fun with this jazz standard classic by playing it in a very cool “odd time” style! Keep Grooving!

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