During this semester, I have had the privilege to learn and play with many different musicians here at Lehman College, including Mr. Allan Molnar and his Jazz Ensemble. He welcomed me as an unofficial member and this past month I have watched them rehearse to perform an instrumental jazz composition called Blue Bossa by Kenny Dorham. They performed on Wednesday, April 26th at the Senior Ball at the Villa Barone Manor.
The style or genre of this song is called Bossa Nova which is a mix of Samba and Hard Bop Jazz. Blue Bossa is a jazz standard comprised mainly of II, V, I progressions and is played in either a minor or a major key. In this piece, the two keys are not relative major or minor keys. The form might be described as ABCB since the second four measures and the fourth four measures are identical. The 3rd four measures could be called the bridge since it is played in a different key. Blue Bossa was played in C minor.
The piece starts of with the bass guitar and the drums. The bass line is playing around the II, V, and, I chord. The drums are playing the bossa nova which is a style of drumming typically used in the Jazz with a Latin influence. I often use this style of drumming myself in the Latin Jazz ensemble. It isn’t played as aggressively as other drum patterns would be. The rim click simulates the click of a clave. The hi-hat simulates the shaker. 8th notes can also be played with a brush instead of a drum stick to further simulate a shaker. The piano follows to decorate the rhythm with minor chords and its arpeggios to break it down. The trumpet comes in next with the main melody or theme of the song. The first time around it gives more of a staccato sound, but then when it repeats, the trumpet stretches out the notes more the second time to more of a legato sound with some fills for the remaining count in the measure. The trumpet continues to improvise during the solo with different variations of the main theme. A low saxophone comes in after and eventually picks up the pace with a quick solo playing in what sounds like 32nd notes with ties. The piano solo comes in after which is my favorite solo of the piece. I feel like it decorated the tune and fit extremely with all the chord progressions. Lastly, the bass solo follows and all other instruments except percussion stop playing. The drums keep the rhythm while the piano throws in some high pitch chords to decorate the bass solo. The main trumpet theme played with trumpet returns closing out the piece.
I enjoyed watching this performance and personally enjoy listening to Blue Bossa as well as playing along to it. It is a jazz standard and is a good song to play along with because it is played at a moderate tempo and is good for beginners and musicians who want to practice this style of music. It is a good song for beginners to practice with improvisation over chord changes because it’s slow and has an easy to follow harmony.