Soul Bossa Nova

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"Soul Bossa Nova"
Song by Quincy Jones from the album Big Band Bossa Nova
Released 1962
Recorded 1961
Genre Swing, jazz, samba, bossa nova
Length 2:50
Writer(s) Quincy Jones
Producer(s) Quincy Jones

"Soul Bossa Nova" is a popular instrumental title, composed by and first performed by American impresario, jazz composer, arranger, and record producer Quincy Jones. It appeared on his 1962 Big Band Bossa Nova album on Mercury Records.[1] Multi-reed player Roland Kirk played the flute solo. Incomplete personnel on the album liner notes do not specify the prominent brass players. According to Jones, he took twenty minutes to compose the piece.[2] The piece prominently features a Cuíca, responsible for the distinctive "laughing" sound in the first bars.

"Soul Bossa Nova" has endeared itself to producers, musicians and the public. The piece appears in the soundtracks to Sidney Lumet's 1964 dramatic film The Pawnbroker, which was scored by Jones, while Woody Allen's 1969 comedy Take the Money and Run features a similar-sounding instrumental composed by Marvin Hamlisch.[3] It was used by BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Alan 'Fluff' Freeman as a theme for his afternoon programme that was broadcast in the UK during the 1970s. In 1969, the French composer Nino Ferrer used the orchestration of the theme for the chorus of his song Les cornichons, based on the title "Big Nick" by James Booker. The theme was used in a long-running Canadian television game show, Definition.[4] Canadian hip hop group Dream Warriors sampled the title heavily for their popular track "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style", in their debut album And Now the Legacy Begins in 1991.[5] Like Dream Warriors, Canadian Mike Myers grew up watching Definition, and as a homage to his childhood used the title as the theme for the Austin Powers film series, starting with Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery in 1997.[1] It was used as a theme for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.[6] It was sampled by Ludacris for his Austin Powers-themed 2005 single, "Number One Spot",[5] on his 2004 album The Red Light District, appearing in the videogames Samba de Amigo, Just Dance 2, and Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party .

The title was also used from 2001 to 2005 as the title theme in a German "ethno-comedy" TV show Was guckst du? ("What 'ya looking?"), which was based on the British TV show Goodness Gracious Me.

The title was featured in the pilot episode of Glee.

In 2010, Canadian jazz singer Emilie-Claire Barlow merged this piece with Sonny Bono's "The Beat Goes On" for the title track of her album of pop covers, The Beat Goes On.

In addition, in 2014, Jones executive produced Canadian jazz singer Nikki Yanofsky's album Little Secret, which featured a song entitled "Something New". The song interpolated melodic references to "Soul Bossa Nova".[7]


  1. ^ a b Henry, Clarence Bernard (2008-08-21). Let's Make Some Noise: Axé and the African Roots of Brazilian Popular Music. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 167. ISBN 9781604730821. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Jones, Quincy (2001-10-01). Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 263. ISBN 9780385488969. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Harvey, Adam; Hyman, Dick (2007-03-06). The Soundtracks of Woody Allen: A Complete Guide to the Songs and Music in Every Film, 1969-2005. McFarland. p. 147. ISBN 9780786429684. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "CTV Produced Shows Over the Years". BellMedia. Archived from the original on 17 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Michael, Eric Dyson (2009-12-08). Born to Use Mics. Basic Civitas Books. p. 91. ISBN 9780786727650. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Rear cover of 1998 CD reissue of Big Band Bossa Nova.
  7. ^ Krewen, Nick (2014-05-12). "‘This lady is really special,’ the legendary producer says of his 20-year-old Canadian protégé.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2016-02-17.