Andre Nieri - Brazilian Fusion Mini Lesson

Posted Fri, Dec 5, 2014 by Levi Clay

After the success of our last blog post, it seemed like a good idea to bring you another, so here we have a little idea from Guitar Idol winner, Andre Nieri.

Andre stands out from the pack as a player because of his ability to blend in his rich Brazilian heritage with his own playing to form a fusion of new and exciting sounds in the rock and prog market. Here's a lick he filmed for us when he cam einto the studio before the Guitar Idol 2014 finals. We were blown away by his skills and so were the judges on the day who gave him the #1 spot.

It would be fair to say that when it comes to musical culture, Brazil is one of the most exciting places to study in the world as they have genres that cater to everything from dancing to relaxing. From the Choros and Sambas to the laid back Bossa novas, there really is something for everyone here. The Bossa groove alone is enough to conjure the mood in a jazz setting.

Check out this fabulous recording from Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto released way back in 1963, and after overcoming the urge to relax, just tap your foot along and notice just how syncopated the guitar pats are, meaning they don't play on the beat, they accent when your foot is up. This is a characteristic sound of the Brazilian vibe.

Below I've written out two clave patterns, the Son 3 2 and the Bossa. A clave is a rhythmic pattern used to structure ensemble in Afro-Cuban music. The Son 3 2 being a very common pattern (You'll hear it in the playing of Bo Diddley ALL the time!), with the Bossa being a minor variation on that where the last accent is shifted along an 8th note.

Of course, there's a lot more to this style than just rhythms, the harmonic palette is also worth considering. I've included chord symbols above Andre's idea, but to get you started, why not try some of these

As you can see from the diagrams above, the chords have added notes in there (6s, 9s, 11s) and these are all important sounds that give the chords a different feel than you may be used to. Try playing a C69 wherever you might play a C, the same with G69 and G. You can also try using a Dm11 wherever you might use a Dm. Try playing Dm11 - G69 - C69 with a Bossa vibe and see what you think. 

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