by Gjermund Sivertsen

To play Bossa Nova Jazz Piano is something I have not studied in detail, but something you “just do” when you’re out there and playing with people. 
This is especially true when you play in bands that are playing Lounge Jazz. So always if I’m playing in a party (background music) I always play some bossa nova jazz piano.

It is a great change to the ballads you’re normally playing on a “background music gig”. 
Very often I get students that wants to learn how to play bossa nova jazz piano. 
And many of them are struggling with the rhythm, the feel and how to make it sound like you’re in Bossa Nova Land.

So I created a video in how to play bossa nova jazz piano:

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Here are the 5 steps I talk about in the lesson:
1. Three easy to use rhythmical patterns for Bossa Nova Jazz Piano.

Yes, there are more existing than these three, but if you’re just starting out with bossa nova, I think the three that I show you in the video are the essential.

2. The dynamics of Bossa Nova Jazz Piano.
Depending on the context of where you play the music, bossa nova jazz piano is normally played with a soft touch. So: Don’t play too loud.
3. What you should do with your harmony (Chords).

What I like to do is to add lots of b9 chords and b5. In addition to that, I always try to resolve the next chord so it is close to the current chord. 
Remember: As a jazz musician, you should not think so much of what was written in the sheet of the music you’re playing. In stead: Try to add the colors that you hear in your head. 
And then you also need to listen to bossa novas. Check out Antônio Carlos Jobim for this!

4. How to play Bossa Nova solo (including the melody).

When you are the one playing the melody in bossa nova as well as playing the rhythmical patterns, that is the hardest thing to do! 
But if you’re playing solo, it needs to be done by you. So to do that: Let your melody stick out! Make your chords smooth and soft in the background of the melody.

5. How to play Bossa Nova Piano when you play in a band.

This is the most fun part in my opinion. 
To do this, you simply add lots of upper-structure voicings while you play. This is a study within of itself, and it is not something I have time to go into right now. 
But a hint: Play A and B voicings with your left hand. Your right hand plays upper-structure voicings