The Bossa Nova—or “new beat”—originated in Rio de Janeiro, primarily in upscale beachfront neighborhoods. The Bossa Nova was established in Brazil in the 1850s, about 100 years before it was introduced to the jazz culture in California. While the Bossa Nova was considered to be “harmless music” by the Brazilian government at the time, it was soon adopted by musicians who began writing of unrest and political protest. By the 1960s the Bossa Nova was considered the people’s music and is credited with perpetuating the political turmoil that eventually brought about the 1964 political coup in Brazil.

It is said that American musicians jamming in local clubs adopted the Brazilian groove and brought it back to America where it found a permanent home in jazz culture of the 1960s. In 1964 American recording artist Stan Getz, his wife João Gilberto, and pianist Tom Jobim recorded “The Girl from Ipanema,” which to this day remains a classic example of this groove. 

The Bossa Nova consists of a shaker pattern, which we will play on the hi-hat, a clave pattern, which we will play as a cross-stick on the snare, and a Surdo pattern, which we will play on the kick drum. Please note that the clave pattern can be played as a 3/2 clave or a 2/3 clave to give you a different feel for each groove.

Murray Creed is the creator of the Victoria Drum Fest as well as an educator, author, and session musician based in Victoria, CanadaFind him online at


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