Antonio Carlos Jobim is a legend of Latin American music and the author of numerous world-famous pieces: Desafinado, Corcovado and The Girl from Ipanema combine Brazilian samba rhythms with jazz harmonies and represent the new mix of these genres: Bossa Nova.
A Felicidade is one of Jobim’s lesser-known pieces, but has a wonderfully flowing melody and interesting harmonic passages. The following arrangement is in the key of A minor and begins with a typical intro vamp (a chord progression rotating in a circle) over Am – Amb6 – Am6. A variation of the Partido Alto rhythm provides a constant flow that develops a samba-like character at this slightly faster tempo:
The first section starts out with with an A-Minor barré in the fifth position. The harmonies circle back over to A-Minor after a short detour through some basic functions:
In the second part we briefly get to know the tonic parallel, i.e. the sibling key of C major, only to immediately switch back via A minor to F major. The harmonic rhythm accelerates significantly and is supplemented by some interesting colors.
The complexity of chord playing reaches its peak in the penultimate line, when the path back to A minor is reached via the progression A13 – Ab13 – G13 – Gb13 – F13 – E7b13. Here you can clearly feel and hear the influence of jazz music and composers such as Duke Ellington and Art Tatum.