• E.M.G.

MINOR DIFFERENCES

Mis à jour : 26 nov. 2018

Listen to the Guitar version: https://youtu.be/USUk0k5g_IM


About the composer:


Drummer, Jazz composer and arranger, Ted Pease has been teaching Jazz composition at Berklee College since 1964. He is the author of several essential educational books (for example Jazz composition, in which is quoted Minor differences). He also wrote for Jazz Player magazine. Some of his compositions include Big band blues celebration and No place to hide.


What he says about Jazz:

“Jazz is an American musical art form with nineteenth and early twentieth century African-American origins that has developed into a musical idiom with improvisation, rhythmic swing, specific voicing and chord progressions, and individual expression at its core.”


About Bossanova: a nice (and short) story

Although this is not a true traditional Brazilian folk song, this Jazz tune must be played, as it is indicated on the lead sheet, in the Bossanova style. In practice, it concerns especially the typical rhythm of the bass line and the guitar or piano accompaniment.

The roots of Bossa nova come from Rio de Janeiro, at the end of the 50’s. This new style of music appeared in the Copacabana and Ipanema neighbourhoods, and wasn’t born in the poor districts of Rio. The word Bossanova could be translated as “a new approach”. It was essentially created by the composer Carlos Jobim and the poet Vinicius de Moraes, who found another way of playing songs than samba and bolero, which were the prevailing styles of music at that time in Brazil.


They brought some harmonic and rhythmic modifications to the Samba: a slower tempo, a more syncopated rhythm and the use of extended chords (9th, 11th and 13th chords). Moreover, they gave to vocals and percussions a less important role than in the traditional carnival Samba.

Since Jobim used the 4th Chopin’s Prelude in his song Insensatez, he has probably been inspired by the romantic period of classical music (second part of the XIXth century). As he was a bar pianist and knew some jazzmen, it is also possible that he has been influenced by Jazz.


In 1956, Orfeu negro, a successful play written by Moraes and with a music by Jobim, was performed at the Rio theater. In this piece, we can hear well the differences between the Bossa nova and other Brazilian music. Orfeo negro is based on the greek tragedy Orpheus, but in this version, this one is a black person. A few years later, it was adapted to cinema by the French director Marcel Camus, and has been awarded the golden palm in the 1959 Cannes festival.


In the field of song, several records made the Bossanova famous: in 1958, Chega de saudade with the singer Joao Gilberto, in 1963, Getz / Gilberto with the sax player Stan Getz (when Gilberto’s wife left him…), and in 1974 Elis & Tom with Jobim and Elis Regina.

In 1962, Jobim, Gilberto and Roberto Menescal played at the Carnegie Hall. But Moraes had a bad feeling about it and refused to come. Unfortunately, he was right. The atmosphere was bad and the concert didn’t go well. Indeed, the invitation of the USA was mostly a revenge against Cuba, after they failed to unseat Fidel Castro.


Bossa nova born and grew up into a modern and democratic context. At that time, building dams and roads, the president Kubitschek was trying to develop this country. He was also a great fan of this music and liked to go to private concerts, maybe at Nara Leao’s apartment, who was the muse of Bossa Nova players. But in 1964 the military coup put an end to this golden age and some of those musicians were forced to leave…in the USA!

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