Jazz Standards – Blue Bossa

Blue Bossa Chords

Blue Bossa was written by Kenny Dorham.

Pat Martino

Blue Bossa Pat Martino transcription

Blue Bossa Kenny Burrell (can’t embed)

Blue Bossa Dexter Gordon transcription (Cm 2 choruses)
Notice the use of approach arpeggios in the 2nd measure of the above transcription – G7 arpeggio descending from the 5th.

Blue Bossa Dexter Gordon transcription (Dm – for sax)

Backing track video

You might also be interested in the Blue Bossa chord melody I did. I also wrote out a simple Blue Bossa jazz guitar solo. And here’s a video I did performing a Blue Bossa jazz guitar solo by Robert Conti.

Blue Bossa is a popular jazz standard and a great tune to learn for beginners. It was written by Kenny Dorham and performed on Joe Henderson’s album ‘Page One’, shown above in the video.

Blue Bossa has two keys making it one of the easier standards to play. It starts out in C minor (Eb relative major) and then modulates to Db major, and finally back to C minor. From a major key perspective there are just 2 keys: Eb and Db major.

I did a Blue Bossa guitar study you can check out.

If we build chords from C natural minor scale, the G chord would be Gm7 however since it’s the 5th note of the scale it is usually changed to a dominant 7 chord. This leads to stronger resolution from G7 to Cm and changes the Bb in Gm7 to B in G7. The original Gm7 would’ve taken the G phrygian scale so by changing just the Bb to B, it turns into Phrygian dominant. Of course dominant chords can take a variety of scales but this would be the first choice.

So the basic scales to use over the chord progression to Blue Bossa would be:
Cm – C Aeolian (try C melodic minor)
Fm7 – F Dorian
Dm7b5 – D Locrian
G7b9 – G Phrygian Dominant (or other altered dominant scales)
Eb-7 – Eb Dorian
Ab7 – Ab Mixolydian (or various altered scales as per any dominant chord).
Dbma7 – Db Ionian

When the minor chord is acting as a i chord as it is in this case, we can alternative play a C melodic minor. This gives us the A and B notes instead of Ab and Bb. This is quite a nice sound, see if you can find melodic phrases out there, or invent your own. You can get great sounds by mixing up the scale that you won’t hear by just playing the scale up and down.

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