“Blue Bossa” is a popular standard by the great jazz trumpet player Kenny Dorham. It is one of the first tunes that many jazz musicians learn. It is also one of the first Latin tunes that many jazz musicians encounter.

“Blue Bossa” is a 16 bar tune. This important standard is 75% in the key of C minor, but modulates to a ii-V-I in Db for four bars in the middle of the tune. Learning to navigate the changes is a challenge to many beginning improvisers when they first encounter this tune. Differentiating which notes are consonant with the C minor harmony key center and which notes are consonant with the ii-V-I in Db is crucial for the beginning improviser and requires attention. Listen to how the masters navigate the harmony and try to emulate the way they approach the harmony by listening. You may even consider transcribing a solo to help you get inside the harmony and improve your improvisation.

30 Days to Better Jazz Playing

Play Along

Videos to learn the melody/changes