I made this video a few years ago but didn't like how I fumbled the intro a bit – it was way too long. I finally got around to editing it so please forgive the abrupt beginning, lol!
This is an improvisation on the chords changes of one chorus of a bossa nova by a great modern Brazilian composer named Guinga. The name of the song is Exilio E Paraiso ("Exiles and Paradise"). Another well known Brazilian, Aldir Blanc, wrote the lyrics. I first heard this song on a CD by the singer Leila Pinheiro – the CD is called Catavento E Girassol (Pinwheels and Sunflowers). I really liked the chord progression and especially guitarist Lula Galvao's solo (of course I liked the vocal but I'm somewhat hampered by not being a Portuguese speaker!). I was inspired to transcribe the song and start playing it. Well, it took over a year before I could play a chorus I wasn't completely disgusted by! This is not your tin-pan-alley II-V-I chord movement, nor is it especially modal; you simply can't play any "licks" that will sound good – I had to work on playing as melodically as possible. I recommend this tune to any jazz musician looking to improve their playing, even though the song is not exactly jazz as some might define it.
Here's my take:
And here is the original version that inspired me. Guitar solo at 1:52. This is one of my favorite CDs: