Blue Bossa by Kenny Dorham is a great jazz standard to play over and contains a very nice chord progression that is suitable even for beginners. Blue Bossa is usually one of the first jazz standards that people learn to improvise over. Blue Bossa is written here in the key or C minor. There is only really one A section to this tune. It starts in C minor and modulates up a half step to Db major. Once you have learned the melody and chord changes to Blue Bossa you will need to know how to improvise over it.
Below I have written out the chord changes to Blue Bossa
Blue Bossa Chords
Cm7 | Cm7 | Fm7 | Fm7 |
Dm7b5 | G7alt | Cm7 | Cm7 |
Ebm7 | Ab7 | Db | Db |
Dm7b5 | G7alt | Cm7 | Dm7b5 G7alt |
There are several ways you could approach improvising over the Blue Bossa chord progression. The first four bars are all taken from the C natural minor scale and you can use the C natural minor to play over the Cm7 and Fm7 chords.
Cm7 | Cm7 | Fm7 | Fm7
Bar 5 and 6 give us a minor 2 5 progression that is best handled by playing the C harmonic minor scale.
Dm7b5 | G7alt
Bar 7 and 8 return to the C natural minor scale.
Cm7 | Cm7
In bars 9 to 12 we have a 2 5 1 in Db major. The easiest way to play over this part would be to use the Db major scale over these four bars.
Ebm7 | Ab7 | Db | Db
In bars 13 and 14 we have another minor 2 5 progression which can be tackled using the harmonic minor scale
Dm7b5 | G7alt
Bar 15 briefly returns to the C natural minor scale
Bar 16 is a short minor 2 5 progression and you can use the C harmonic minor scale over this section
As you can see we can play over the Blue Bossa chord progression using only three scales: the C natural minor scale, the C harmonic minor scale and the Db major scale.
If you want to make your solos sound more interesting then you should really try and highlight the sound of the G7alt chords in this progression by using the altered scale over them. You can do this by playing the Ab melodic minor scale over the G7alt chords. You could also try playing through the Blue Bossa chord progression using only arpeggios to really nail the sound of the changes in this tune. I hope you have fun learning the Blue Bossa chord progression. It is one of the easiest jazz standards to play over and a really great tune to have in your repertoire.