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Donna Lee?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Norwegianwood, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. Ok, so I´m doing Donna Lee on an audition in a couple of months. I´ve played it before on electric, and I now got the first two bars down pretty fluid on the upright. (Not in Charlie Parker tempo, though :) )

    Have any of you got any tips on how to practise this head? It´s by far the most technically advanced melody I´ve ever played on upright. I´m pretty confident on the chords - it´s the head that is bugging me. Any tips would be highly appreciated...
  2. I always think of "Donna Lee" in terms of "Indiana" with a very specific solo as the head. I realise that you're asking for tips on how to learn the exact head - well, learn each note (how else) - I would use my knowledge of "Indiana" to navigate my way through the changes. Start off very slowly and as you become familiar with it, gradually increase the speed.

    - Wil
  3. Thank you - I´ll check that up!
    Of course I am also grateful for any tips on soloing trough the changes...!
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Donna Lee is one of the "rangiest" bop heads you'll find, so you have to be careful to plan your string crossings wisely. There are so many acceptable ways to play the opening, but the bottom line is that the large leaps (greater than a 4th) in the head are the most dangerous spots in terms of execution, articulation, and intonation. When I was shedding it a little this summer, I usually worked my fingerings around what I wanted to do with the large leaps and worked backward from there to the beginning of the phrases, which are much less forbidding. HTH.
  5. Thanks, I´ll most definately check that out! I´ve allready had to change some of the initial fingerings. Found out there´s no way around doing more string-skipping/using more strings.

    And Donna Lee is really a little bit ahead of my current level. But I just love having "impossible" tasks like this - it really inspires me.