Watch the Bossa Groove online guitar lesson by Henry Johnson from Jazz Expressions
Let's break down this bossa nova performance. I started out using octaves, and when I'm using them, I'm trying to create something thematic and focusing on the rhythm. One thing you might notice with bossa nova is that you have time to play a lot of different kind of rhythms. Something I like to do is delay the rhythm, creating a push-and-pull type of feeling. It's something that's hard to write down, you just have to feel it out.
In the second chorus, I'm playing single notes, and notice that I keep the rhythm very simple because I want to hear the melody. Think like you're playing a horn, and you have to stop to blow air in it, which means you have to stop picking and let the notes hold.
Finally, in the last chorus, I let my mind go free - but, all the elements we've been talking about are being used more than ever: rhythm displacement, thematic repetition, the blues, lots of colors, flurries of notes, etc. My imagination is taking over, and in my mind, everything is totally free. That's the feeling I want to portray with the chorus.