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Blue Bossa (Jazz Standard)

The Jazz Guitar Lessons

Misty was written in 1963 by Kenny Dorham and first released by Joe Hendreson on his album Page One.

It's one of those easy tunes you can play even with non jazzers as long as you make the key change in the right place! Certainly a popular one, easy form to remember too, so a must know really.

1. Listening

Before starting work on the song, you really should try and listen to a few versions, particularly vocal versions, I think listening to one with a lyric really helps you understand the phrasing of the melody. Of course some songs don't have words - like this one!

Check out how they all vary the melody a bit, and remember when you play it you don't have to play it 'exactly as the book says', in fact if you do, you are missing the point!

Instrumental Versions:
Joe Henderson - the first release of this classic!
Pat Martino - I love Martino's playing, he tears it, amazing playing, so clean and fast and melodic.
Dexter Gordon - lovely lines in this, well worth stealing!!
Joe Pass and JJ Johnson - Joe plays great in this, awesome comping and tasty lines! Trombone and guitar duet!!
Jimmy Rosenburg - gives this song the gypsy jazz treatment :) great technique and tasty lines.
Chet Baker - lots of nice playing in this version.

2. Learn The Chords - Video Lesson (JA-540)

Remember to start real simple and learn the root notes and chord types and be real solid with them before getting into any substitutions! You'll need to check out the Bossa Rhythm Lesson (JA-009) before you try this!!


3. Learn The Melody - Video Lesson (JA-541)

Make sure you memorise the melody in one position. Of course later it's a good idea to be able to play it all over the neck wherever you want, but that will come later, first really nail it in one position.


4. Harmonic Analysis - Video Lesson (JA-542)

Next up is understanding what is going on with the song harmonically, looking at the key changes and what scales would be played over each chord. Here's the PDF File of the Tip Sheet for you too!


The Form: Simple 16 Bar form.
Most usual Key: C Minor

Im7   IVm7  
Cmin7 Cmin7 Fmin7 Fmin7
IIm7b5 V7 Im7  
Dm7b5 G7alt Cmin7 Cmin7
II (Db Major) V (Db Major) I (Db Major)  
Ebm7 Ab7 Dbmaj7 Dbmaj7
IIm7b5 V7 Im7  
Dm7b5 G7alt Cmin7 Cmin7


* Note - the chords shown above are from my own composition "Green and Yellow Mix Bossa" which happens to have the same chord changes as Blue Bossa, but as they use the same harmonies it's worth looking at here!


5. Exploring

Now this bit I can't help you with much because it's better if you do it on your own. But here's some basic things you should be exploring:

1. Try playing the melody in different parts of the neck (different positions)
2. Try out some chord substitutions, both extensions and substitutions and seeing what works.
3. Try using only arpeggios to make an improvised solo.
4. Try using only scales to make an improvised solo.
5. Try playing the song in other keys.
6. Transcribe as many solos for this song you find THAT YOU REALLY LIKE (I don't recommend wasting time transcribing and learning solos that you don't like, it's a waste of time).
7. Try using the licks you steal from your transcriptions and mixing in with your improvisations.
8. Try making up your own chord melody (chords and melody at the same time).
9. ?



You'll find the chart for this tune in both of these Real Books!

Real Book 1

The Real Book Vol. 1 in C

This is the "real" real book. The original one, well not quite, it's the slightly newer version that the one 'everyone uses' which is the 5th edition - but this one is LOADS better, seriously, loads better. I bought this 6th Edition after starting this course and wish I'd bought it sooner!

Buy at
Buy at

New Real Book

The New Real Book in C

This is a "new" edition with lyrics and more modern jazz classics and fusion tunes - compliments the above real book, both are recommended.

Buy at
Buy at






Lesson ID: JA-540