Bossa Nuevo was formed in Central Illinois college town, Urbana, around 2009 by bassist Karim Yengsep. It consisted of the students from the School of Music and included vocalist Holly Holmes, pianist Lara Driscoll, saxophonist Mikael Templeton, guitarist George Turner, drummer Matt Plaskota, and percussionist Cody Jensen.
The ensemble's calling card was a book of repertoire that combined well known and rarely heard compositions by South American composers infused with fresh arrangements specifically tailored for the ensemble's instrumentation. The idea was to present the listener not only with the infamous Jobim classics, but also give them opportunity to listen live to such pieces, among others, as Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras arranged for jazz ensemble and Edu Lobo's "Upa, Neguinho" infused with a percussion soli section.
Throughout its short tenure BN performed at many local venues and was always warmly welcomed by the support of the concert going community. The ensemble released its namesake debut album on an independent music label in Oregon, Teal Creek Music on October 5, 2010.