How to play Brazilian Jazz?
Brazil is a large, musically rich country. it is home to the Samba, Bossa Nova, Choro, and many other categories and sub-categories of music.
The first step to learning how to play Brazilian Jazz is to immerse yourself in the Brazilian Jazz sound by watching YouTube videos and taking every opportunity to hear the music played live.
Next step is to pick one recording to explore. I've chosen The Girl from Ipanema. Secure a modern lead sheet of the piece. Musicnotes.com - Search Results for girl from ipanema
Now listen to the classic recording below while following along. The first thing you will notice is that João Gilberto, the male singer, sings the melody freely, not as notated. Astrud Gilberto, the female singer, sings the melody closer to the lead sheet only the first time. On the repeat it too is rhythmically freer. Now it is your turn to mimic the melody as close as you can to the recording. This may take two or one hundred tries. I recommend you stick with it. There is an apocryphal story that Herbie Hancock needed to listen to an Oscar Peterson solo one hundred times before he "got" it. Apparently, it took only ninety-nine times on the next solo. You get the picture.
Next up I ask students to explore the guitar style featured in the recording.
Followed by percussion
Ending with the piano
Now we are ready to make a go of playing the piece. You will now be able to hear more clearly the rhythmic moves and feel of the music. Start copying what you hear.
If I can help, call me.
Revised August 2022
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You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.