Sunday, February 17, 2008

Finding One - Bossa Nova feel

For those following the "Finding One Over the Wires" series, one of the tunes I use is the Robin Thicke tune named "Lost Without U". I don't use it because it's salsa music, I use it because it's simple and an excellent starting point for people to hear the time.

Robin Thicke: Modern Bossa Nova Feel

Birgit Marita posted a great comment with a link to another bossa nova and I realized I should post the bossa nova that is probably the most famous in the world named "The Girl From Ipanema." Almost everybody has heard this over the years, but many people think of it as elevator music, since it's a laid back, "less is more" concept from the mid 1960's.

In most arts, including dance and music, it's smart to get a feel for the history of the art and see how it's evolved over the years. Most people will find it easier to hear the time in the Robin Thicke tune, because the drums are very clear.

In the original version, the drums don't play in the beginning, and when they play they are in the background, providing a feel but nothing like modern tunes. Once you hear the time in the Robin Thicke tune, it's a very small jump to this classic version.

The Girl From Ipanema by Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto (1964)

And finally, below is a live jazz version of the same tune, so you can see how it's performed by one of the original artists in a live setting. The Girl from Ipanema starts around the 3:10 mark in the clip (assuming you are counting up). I really like the piano solo around the six-minute mark. Remember that this music and these artists are very mature and are excellent examples of the "less is more" music concepts.

Stan Getz Quartet - Desafinado and Girl from Ipanema

All these people have the technical ability to play 10 times more, but in this context they choose to play fewer notes overall. That is an artistic choice, and to do this well often takes musicians 5 to 10 years or more just to get into the ballpark. It sounds so simple, but it's not.

As dancers, we have similar choices, where we learn to perform complex moves with grace, and we pick and choose which is appropriate for the music and our partner.

Let me know your thoughts!
Men aren't attracted to me by my mind.
They're attracted by what I don't mind.

-Gypsy Rose Lee


  1. Do you know the musicality-quiz by Peter Fige? There you have to click at the one.
    peterfige quiz

  2. Birgit,

    Yes, I tried that out before, it's cool! It's an interesting test and I really like Peter's DVDs. Great material. I should write a review of his DVDs since I really like them.

  3. Yum. Where did you see Stan Getz live?


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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero