Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 91
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Working on "Donna Lee" got me interested in Charlie Parker's 2 choruses of improvisation on that tune. I have decided to learn that solo and thought I'd invite anyone who wants to joint me. I'm not the most advanced, so I doubt I can go really quickly. I was thinking maybe 8 measures per week?

    At any rate, I'll be doing this and if anyone wants to learn this with me, just post a reply.

    If you have already learned it and just want to post to show off and make all us beginners feel bad, go ahead, have at it. Can't stop you. But I'm especially interested in forum members who are wanting to engage some challenging project that will teach a lot of good bebop vocabulary and phrasing.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    As you know I’m also working on Donna Lee. I can’t play the solo nearly as fast as bird but here’s how I finger it. I don’t want to show off, only perhaps save you or someone else some time.


  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Peterson
    As you know I’m also working on Donna Lee. I can’t play the solo nearly as fast as bird but here’s how I finger it. I don’t want to show off, only perhaps save you or someone else some time.

    Thanks! This is really helpful. Getting these things up to the tempo is not as vital to me as learning the vocabulary and how it lays on the fingerboard. I have set 200 bpm as my nominal goal tempo. Not as fast as any of the recordings, but quite challenging for me.

    I'll post my fingerings on mm. 1-16 shortly.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Here is my attempt to do the first 16 measures of the Charlie Parker Omnibook transcription of Bird's solo on "Donna Lee." Not the most exciting thing you'll read today. Not nearly as exciting as outing banned folks or departing dramatically from the forum... not even as exciting as watching paint dry. But if anyone watching this catches a mistaken note, please let me know.

    On time, this is only approximately in correct time. I'm mainly here working on the right notes and fingerings, so if there are errors please by all means say so!

    For fun: guitar is a 1999 Gibson ES165 Herb Ellis, played into a Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb, recorded via direct line to an A/D box and then to the computer.


  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    And why not try it with the record? Here's the first half-chorus with the record, slowed way down to 135 bpm.

    There is something really magical about Bird's articulation, phrasing, his execution that is hard to describe. I hope I can absorb a little of it.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Getting there!

    To me, one of the hardest things in this solo is to not let several notes ring at once on the 16th notes Cm9 arpeggios. Try to find a fingering that helps you separate the notes.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Peterson
    Getting there!

    To me, one of the hardest things in this solo is to not let several notes ring at once on the 16th notes Cm9 arpeggios. Try to find a fingering that helps you separate the notes.
    Yes that has actually been a recurring challenge for me in playing bop tunes.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    This solo is an amazing example of treating say 2 choruses as if it were one large musical statement. Really, his "lead in" is not just a lick to get to his solo, but actually launches the solo in mm. 31. The usual places for breaking a phrase, the A, B, and C sections, are just ignored, as is the end of the first chorus and the start of the second. And yet, there are GIANT rests in this solo. Several places where for 4-6 beats he's just letting the space happen, though not in the places normally one expects.

    I am confident I will be able to learn this solo. I am also confident I will never be able to play like Bird did. Wow. My respect for his musicianship was already high, but now it's over the top.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    And why not try it with the record? Here's the first half-chorus with the record, slowed way down to 135 bpm.

    There is something really magical about Bird's articulation, phrasing, his execution that is hard to describe. I hope I can absorb a little of it.
    Great to witness your tenacity, Lawson! Getting deep with one tune will pay off enormously. Your fingering on the whole is getting much more logical and in synch with the nature of each phrase. Regarding the arpeggios, no need to find an alternative - just be careful to lift each finger progressively as you sweep across the strings. Pitchwise, the only error that immediately stood out to me was the Eb rather than E natural lower approach note to the Fm7 arpeggio in bar 9 of the solo.

    As suggested in your posts, it's in the areas of rhythm and articulation that Parker really shines. I'll leave aside for the moment his incredible ability to vary the length of phrases, drop in and come out at any chosen point of the bar and float across the time while still laying down an impeccable groove. That's another whole discussion. Instead, let's concentrate on both rhythm and articulation at a more micro-level.

    The essence of bop phrasing as laid down by CP is accenting and slurring weak to strong beats. At the micro-level, we're talking about a stress on the second eighth note of each beat that connects to the following downbeat and creates a sense of forward motion. The first step in gaining control over that type of phrasing is ensuring that upbeats (generally upstrokes for alternate pickers) are accented just as strongly as downbeats. If you practise scales as part of your daily regime, try playing them in that manner. This may feel counterintuitive at first for all sorts of cultural, stylistic and physical reasons but it's very important.

    Next, introduce slurs wherever possible from weak to strong. Here's an example of a descending Ab major scale (from the 9th degree) with those principles applied:

    Learning Charlie Parker "Donna Lee" Solo?-ab_scale-jpeg

    Note the change of position to facilitate slurring. This may not always be practical when dealing with longer phrases but it's worth keeping it in mind.

    Let's now transfer these moves to an actual Parker line. Here's the phrase that sets up his 1st chorus:

    Learning Charlie Parker "Donna Lee" Solo?-dl_phrase-jpeg

    I've pretty much stayed with your fingering except for the shift to enable an extended slur across the triplet. Another option might be to play that whole last section at the 5th position on the 3rd string. Weak-strong accented slurs occur throughout with the exception of the G-F in bar 2.

    Lawson, I guarantee that if you spend as much quality time on these aspects as you have already on getting the pitches down, your playing will be transformed!
    Last edited by PMB; 01-25-2020 at 09:33 AM.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Here's a clip (I hope it inspires rather than intimidates) that clearly demonstrates what I've been rabbiting on about:

    Last edited by PMB; 01-25-2020 at 05:07 PM.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Great to witness your tenacity, Lawson! Getting deep with one tune will pay off enormously. Your fingering on the whole is getting much more logical and in synch with the nature of each phrase. Regarding the arpeggios, no need to find an alternative - just be careful to lift each finger progressively as you sweep across the strings. Pitchwise, the only error that immediately stood out to me was the Eb rather than E natural lower approach note to the Fm7 arpeggio in bar 9 of the solo.

    As suggested in your posts, it's in the areas of rhythm and articulation that Parker really shines. I'll leave aside for the moment his incredible ability to vary the length of phrases, drop in and come out at any chosen point of the bar and float across the time while still laying down an impeccable groove. That's another whole discussion. Instead, let's concentrate on both rhythm and articulation at a more micro-level.

    The essence of bop phrasing as laid down by CP is accenting and slurring weak to strong beats. At the micro-level, we're talking about a stress on the second eighth note of each beat that connects to the following downbeat and creates a sense of forward motion. The first step in gaining control over that type of phrasing is ensuring that upbeats (generally upstrokes for alternate pickers) are accented just as strongly as downbeats. If you practise scales as part of your daily regime, try playing them in that manner. This may feel counterintuitive at first for all sorts of cultural, stylistic and physical reasons but it's very important.

    Next, introduce slurs wherever possible from weak to strong. Here's an example of a descending Ab major scale (from the 9th degree) with those principles applied:

    Learning Charlie Parker "Donna Lee" Solo?-ab_scale-jpeg

    Note the change of position to facilitate slurring. This may not always be practical when dealing with longer phrases but it's worth keeping it in mind.

    Let's now transfer these moves to an actual Parker line. Here's the phrase that sets up his 1st chorus:

    Learning Charlie Parker "Donna Lee" Solo?-dl_phrase-jpeg

    I've pretty much stayed with your fingering except for the shift to enable an extended slur across the triplet. Another option might be to play that whole last section at the 5th position on the 3rd string. Weak-strong accented slurs occur throughout with the exception of the G-F in bar 2.

    Lawson, I guarantee that if you spend as much quality time on these aspects as you have already on getting the pitches down, your playing will be transformed!
    Many thanks. I feel like I've gotten a solid lesson.

    On the Eb, I'm playing from the Omnibook, which has an Eb there. I need to pay more attention to the recording.

    I'll play with the slurring idea. Good concrete stuff to try out.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Here's a clip (I hope it inspires rather than intimidates) that clearly demonstrates what I've rabbiting on about:

    That's really nice! Intimidating in the right way, challenging but also inspiring. Other than the tempo, I can see that the actual changes to the tune are not as conceptually hard to get as some others might be. So I can understand improvisors liking to stretch out on it. Hope I get there one day!

    Thanks for the time and insight you've contributed. I am going to work with the ideas a bit and see what happens.

    ALSO: really, is the Epiphone Elitist Broadway not the most dynamite for the dollar you ever saw in a fine archtop? I had one in sunburst that was simply without any shortcoming, stock.

  14. #13
    Great thread. Thanks!

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Pitchwise, the only error that immediately stood out to me was the Eb rather than E natural lower approach note to the Fm7 arpeggio in bar 9 of the solo.
    I'm trying to track this down while I'm still working out my approach. I was mistaken about which Eb/E natural you were talking about. I miscounted the measures since I tend to think the solo starts back in m. 31. I see now you're counting properly from 33 and wow, I did miss that one. I find I keep forgetting that the Omnibook doesn't notate these solos "in key" but as if they're all in C, with all the accidentals noted. I keep thinking "Key of Ab... every E is an Eb..."

    Thanks for catching that, I'll work on re-training the muscle memory!

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    I have the first chorus (more or less!) at about 160 bpm. The best thing I have done on this is to play with the original recording. I find the comping on that really hard to sync with for some reason, but since it's a classic I assume the pianist is great and I need to figure it out.

    The last line of the chorus is just a repeated figure, but it has been the hardest part to get right. I get it maybe 75% on this. It's typical Bird, a figure that sounds easy until you try to play it, and it starts on a different beat every time it repeats.

    So for all of you breathlessly wondering how I'm doing on this (HA!) here is me doubling Bird at about 2/3 tempo.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    So this is chorus 1, played at 160 bpm, using the Hal Leonard Real Book backing track. There are still places where the "note-beat relationship" is less than perfect, shall we say? Down right messed up time in a few spots. Bird's phrasing with the beat is really, really slippery.

    I almost did not post this because it has some errors, but I don't believe in waiting for perfection. I learn more when my mistakes are identified, and often forum members provide excellent advice.

    Plus you can have fun listening for my mistakes! How many can you find? Maybe I should offer a prize. Maybe not.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Learning this piece is quite an impressive technical exercise. I worked on it a long time ago, maybe I got the head to about 180bpm, that's were my technique starts to fall apart.

    How do you go from memorizing this written music to actually acquiring some vocabulary that you are able to use in improvisation. Is there a plan and procedure that you have to accomplish that?

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Learning this piece is quite an impressive technical exercise. I worked on it a long time ago, maybe I got the head to about 180bpm, that's were my technique starts to fall apart.

    How do you go from memorizing this written music to actually acquiring some vocabulary that you are able to use in improvisation. Is there a plan and procedure that you have to accomplish that?
    Good question. I don't know. Right now I'm putting my hope in the absorptive powers of the unconscious mind. Like so much other music I know, most of it was caught or absorbed from repeated playing and some "aha!" moments. I think I have less ability to incorporate stuff like this into my own playing than some. I have to immerse myself in a ton of stuff before anything starts to stick.

    that could be a good thread all its own.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    that could be a good thread all its own.
    Yes.

    I'm curious because I don't seem to absorb vocabulary that way. Charlie Parker, genius imo, and his playing is so choke full of good licks/phrases/vocab (it's just semantics use the term you prefer), it's just overwhelming.to me.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    I am posting another clip of this same chorus for 2 reasons. First, I was experimenting with a Boss Fender Deluxe Reverb pedal, running straight into the A/D box for recording. Second, for some reason I played better this time. Maybe because I was thinking about the pedal!

    This pedal is interesting. It's hard to get "clean" from it. You have to turn the gain nearly off and the level way up. There's too much break up in this clip, to my ear, but others might like it. Second, the reverb not only emulates a spring reverb, it emulates the periodic odd artifact noise of a spring reverb. That occasional pop or stray sound. Authentic, yes; but desirable, no.

    On balance, I likely would not recommend this pedal if someone wants the "clean" Deluxe Reverb sound because you don't have a lot of range that's clean. Also, that reverb artifact noise is just plain odd. Almost like if they also programmed into it the sounds of clinking glasses and crowd conversation?

    Otherwise, I actually enjoy the pedal. It kind of works with you as you play, which is interesting.


  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Maybe some were afraid I'd given up. Maybe others where HOPING I'd given up. But no, "negative persistence" is one of my traits.

    So now I have the first chorus of the Bird solo on "Donna Lee" up to 170 bpm. At the faster tempos, I find that smaller increments come at a greater price. Going from 160 to 170 is way harder than going from 140 to 150. Also, there are fingerings that are fine at slower tempos but simply won't work at faster ones.

    I also continue to be amazed at how Bird can just drop things into the tempo at any point and it fits. The guy has an astonishing sense of where he is in the form. Sometimes I"m actually not sure his rhythm section always knew... but anyhow, here is my effort at 170 with the Hal Leonard Real Book backing track. No doubt errors abound! Constructive advice is always welcome.


  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Wow. It gets harder and harder to bump up just 10 bpm! But here is 180, or 182 to be precise.

    I have struggled with the section of mm. 21-27, esp. the figure with the 8th note triplet and the next measure's 16th note triplet. It's hard to feel the beat playing those 7 measures but I'm making progress. I'm finding that, the way I finger it, the Bb note in the 8th note triplet is crucial. I have to nail it with my index finger, which is a slight shift, for the rest of the line to go right. Once I realized my finger-wrecks were because of not shifting smoothly there, it began to clear up.

    The phrases in this solo are such classic bop. Unlike some other solos I've learned, these phrases are getting into my other player rather quickly.

    It's done twice here: once on the L5ces, once on the ES175 VOS1959.

    Any constructive observations or advice is appreciated.


  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    I hope this thread is helpful or at least interesting, at least you're thinking, "Wow I could play way better than that..." Tonight I managed to get through the head and the first chorus at a pretty nice tempo of 185 bpm and actually enjoyed it, didn't have the grim "Gotta survive this.." mindset.

    Recorded with the Princeton Reverb Re-Issue and an SM57 microphone. I need to learn more about mic placement, this is a little darkish, but I still like the sound.

    As I work on playing these cleaner and quicker I'm working out the next chorus.

    Whoever is watching out there and following this, thanks!


  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    I find the best way to improve on something I"m working on is... move on to the next section, so this is working out the fingering for the first statement of the 2nd chorus of "Donna Lee," Bird uses the repeated and rhythmically offsetting phrase of the last line of the first chorus to move seamlessly into the second chorus. It's hard to realize you've gone to the top of the form here, so amazing. Then he uses the same figure over Bbm7 that he used in the same spot in the first chorus, but here he resolves it differently. Again, brilliant.

    So I play through mm. 29-41 3 times with a metronome at 130 bpm just to get the fingering and relative rhythm in my head. If anyone is working on this, I hope it helps. For me it's just keeping myself accountable for making progress by posting here.

    Recording note: I stumbled onto a used Quilter Tone Block 202 and have been having a lot of fun with it. It will replace my DVMark heads which aren't very rugged and it has more power. I like the features of this little head a lot. I' recording via the XLR out, which profits from having a speaker attached because somehow it incorporates the impulse from the speaker into the signal going outbound.


  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Progress is progress! You got it.

    TB 202 is a great amp. I've been really happy with mine for over a year. Nice to hear a fine archtop recorded direct through that. I haven't recorded anything since I picked up guitar again, but I've been hoping this would be a nice easy way to approach it. Now I know! Thanks for mentioning that.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    ...
    I'll allow myself a few remarks, since you're asking for constructive criticism, and no one dares to make them

    I think you could improve the phrasing by working more the slurs (hammer on, pull off), especially if you like Jimmy Raney, to get closer to the fluidity of the saxophone. You would also win with fingers of the left hand more in small hammers, which facilitate the slurs

    it is possible, I'm not sure, that there is a problem of rhythmic precision on the triplets, a little haste or nervous, and there I think it comes from the right hand. Maybe you should try a pick technique less with the wrist and more with the flexibility between thumb and index, changing the angle of strings attack on the arpeggios

    I have the impression that you press the wrist on the table and at the same time the pinky on the pickguard, which does not allow some flexibility, neither with the wrist nor with the phalanx. Perhaps one or the other should be abandoned, or if possible, both

    there is a general problem of tension, not enough relaxation of the body, maybe nervousness in front of the camera

    finally, if you have the ability to listen to Parker's solo by decreasing the speed without changing the pitch, it may be better to transplant it to the ear rather than read the transcript, now that you know the notes

    no doubt authorized Jazz Guitar Teachers would make a better diagnosis and better recommendations than me, no one is perfect

    hoping not to offend you, in any case, good luck, I see you are persevering
    Last edited by Patlotch; 02-14-2020 at 05:42 AM.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    I'll allow myself a few remarks, since you're asking for constructive criticism, and no one dares to make them

    I think you could improve the phrasing by working more the slurs (hammer on, pull off), especially if you like Jimmy Raney, to get closer to the fluidity of the saxophone. You would also win with fingers of the left hand more in small hammers, which facilitate the slurs

    it is possible, I'm not sure, that there is a problem of rhythmic precision on the triplets, a little haste or nervous, and there I think it comes from the right hand. Maybe you should try a pick technique less with the wrist and more with the flexibility between thumb and index, changing the angle of strings attack on the arpeggios

    I have the impression that you press the wrist on the table and at the same time the pinky on the pickguard, which does not allow some flexibility, neither with the wrist nor with the phalanx. Perhaps one or the other should be abandoned, or if possible, both

    there is a general problem of tension, not enough relaxation of the body, maybe nervousness in front of the camera

    finally, if you have the ability to listen to Parker's solo by decreasing the speed without changing the pitch, it may be better to transplant it to the ear rather than read the transcript, now that you know the notes

    no doubt authorized Jazz Guitar Teachers would make a better diagnosis and better recommendations than me, no one is perfect

    hoping not to offend you, in any case, good luck, I see you are persevering
    No offense at all. Thank you for the very substantive advice, which I do not consider "criticism" but observations and advice. That's why I posted the clip. I find that line of triplets very hard to play correctly. I'm actually pausing for a while to work on that section.

    Thank you for watching.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    ...
    thank you for your state of mind. I think it would be better if others, more competent than me, confirmed or not what I noticed. This is the first time in my life that I give advice to a particular guitarist, and it is not without risk of being wrong

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    You have to use legato in the right way though Patloch

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    thank you for your state of mind. I think it would be better if others, more competent than me, confirmed or not what I noticed. This is the first time in my life that I give advice to a particular guitarist, and it is not without risk of being wrong
    Your advice, even if it were in error, is still an expression of interest in me and my music. You took time to watch, you pondered things, and you made suggestions. Those are all very valuable to me. I've been very aware of Bird's triplets on that 3-times repeated phrase being very different from mine, mainly in his emphasis. I plan to work on those for a couple of days.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    You have to use legato in the right way though Patloch
    The legato feel is what drives me crazy trying to play this solo. If you have any particulars, I'm all ears!

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    So here's the part I'm working on, but I decided to back up to measure 21 and play through into the 9th measure of the second chorus for continuity. Slowed the recording down to 150 bpm. This is 3 takes from about a dozen, all pretty much alike. Each one has a flaw, but overall I feel like I'm getting it.


  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    there's a topic with these questions of eight triplet notes here, and several suggestions for fingerings and pick
    HAMMERING ON/PULLING OFF ONTO THE DOWN BEAT

    it all depends if you finger the arpeggios on 2 or 3 strings. In my opinion you have to work both, otherwise for the impro you are stuck. The less choice you have, the more you fall into clichés

    It should be noted that often, the first note before the triplet is a half-tone below, which on three strings invites you to play the line: ^ ham vv
    it also works very well with only down stroke: v ham vv pick thumb like Wes. Christian gives other solutions

    in general, make the slur where the fingering allows, even if it is not on the same part of the beat, on the contrary. Jimmy Raney used to do that

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    The legato feel is what drives me crazy trying to play this solo. If you have any particulars, I'm all ears!
    One think to watch for is that slurs occur in the right place. As I've mentioned earlier, Parker invariably places them from weak to strong beats. Often when fingering a passage, we go for the easiest option (i.e. the least hand movement) without thinking how it might affect the phrasing.

    For instance, in bar 3 of Chorus 1 you played the following:

    Learning Charlie Parker "Donna Lee" Solo?-dl1-jpeg

    Granted, the line sits easily upon the fretboard in that position yet the only available place to slur notes is at the beginning of the bar from strong to weak beats. I'd either forgo the slur entirely or search for another option that allows more idiomatic phrasing:

    Learning Charlie Parker "Donna Lee" Solo?-dl2-jpeg

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    if the ternary notation of the eigth notes has always been a simplification, there is the simple fact that the "ternary" eight notes are neither equal nor really triplets, it depends on the tempo, musicians, and Bands. The bebop retains something of the pre-war swing, which most jazz students don't hear, because they don't know the old style, they want to play directly "modern" jazz without knowing where it comes from
    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    One think to watch for is that slurs occur in the right place. As I've mentioned earlier, Parker invariably places them from weak to strong beats.

    personally, if I hear accents in Parker, it is very difficult for me to compare the slurs of a saxophone with those of a guitar, unless we talk about legato and staccato. But there is not much staccato in Donna Lee...*
    *
    if I remember a little of my beginnings on the clarinet, the staccato on reeds instruents is played either with the tongue or with a particular breath technique, neither is possible at high tempo

    if it's about imitating Charlie Parker's phrasing, I'd avoid starting with such a speed and difficult tune as Donna Lee. I would choose a medium or medium slow, Parker's Mood or something like that

    in some cases, to give thickness to the guitar notes, it is not bad to introduce double-stroke in intervals. It's less close to a written statement than a feeling that listens to Parker

    I would go so far as to say that as long as we didn't have recordings, we had to refer to the score of the composers, but since we recorded, why rely on a poor written reduction of what is perfectly clear to listen to the records? Except for the height of the notes, the most difficult to ear when it goes fast. Rhythm and phrasing, you take them by ear, it's much better. To imitate the saxophone, you have to find on the guitar subjective equivalencies
    Last edited by Patlotch; 02-15-2020 at 02:04 AM.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    I don't plan on changing my tune, guys. I have a lot of effort and time invested in Donna Lee and so I'm staying with this tune until I feel like I've gotten all I can from it.

    PMB thank you for your advice, and for the clip you posted earlier which I've returned to several times.

    I weary of hearing theoretical ideas and appreciate very much advice from people who actually play bebop well.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    if the ternary notation of the eigth notes has always been a simplification, there is the simple fact that the "ternary" eight notes are neither equal nor really triplets, it depends on the tempo, musicians, and Bands. The bebop retains something of the pre-war swing, which most jazz students don't hear, because they don't know the old style, they want to play directly "modern" jazz without knowing where it comes from

    personally, if I hear accents in Parker, it is very difficult for me to compare the slurs of a saxophone with those of a guitar, unless we talk about legato and staccato. But there is not much staccato in Donna Lee...*
    *
    if I remember a little of my beginnings on the clarinet, the staccato on reeds instruents is played either with the tongue or with a particular breath technique, neither is possible at high tempo

    if it's about imitating Charlie Parker's phrasing, I'd avoid starting with such a speed and difficult tune as Donna Lee. I would choose a medium or medium slow, Parker's Mood or something like that

    in some cases, to give thickness to the guitar notes, it is not bad to introduce double-stroke in intervals. It's less close to a written statement than a feeling that listens to Parker

    I would go so far as to say that as long as we didn't have recordings, we had to refer to the score of the composers, but since we recorded, why rely on a poor written reduction of what is perfectly clear to listen to the records? Except for the height of the notes, the most difficult to ear when it goes fast. Rhythm and phrasing, you take them by ear, it's much better. To imitate the saxophone, you have to find on the guitar subjective equivalencies
    I have a lot of trouble trying to understand your points here.

    Could you post a clip playing this portion of the solo and demonstrating what you are talking about? Bebop was always a "player to player" idiom and one clip is better than 1000 words. I look forward to hearing actually play bebop.

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    One think to watch for is that slurs occur in the right place. As I've mentioned earlier, Parker invariably places them from weak to strong beats. Often when fingering a passage, we go for the easiest option (i.e. the least hand movement) without thinking how it might affect the phrasing.

    For instance, in bar 3 of Chorus 1 you played the following:

    Learning Charlie Parker "Donna Lee" Solo?-dl1-jpeg

    Granted, the line sits easily upon the fretboard in that position yet the only available place to slur notes is at the beginning of the bar from strong to weak beats. I'd either forgo the slur entirely or search for another option that allows more idiomatic phrasing:

    Learning Charlie Parker "Donna Lee" Solo?-dl2-jpeg
    Thanks for this suggestion. I will see if I can shift my fingering. This stays pretty close to where I already play it, and has the advantage of being more in the center of the neck, which I think produces a nicer tone.

    I do appreciate your taking time to actually look at my fingerings. That's very generous, thank you.

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I have a lot of trouble trying to understand your points here.
    Could you post a clip playing this portion of the solo and demonstrating what you are talking about? Bebop was always a "player to player" idiom and one clip is better than 1000 words. I look forward to hearing actually play bebop.
    I do not think I can explain it more clearly that a guitar is not a saxophone, and that talking about "slur" about both is different, technically. I do not agree with listening to "slur" at Parker in such a place of the beat and not elsewhere, it makes no sense to me in a saxophonist, unless it is a matter of differentiating the legato and staccato. Try to reproduce the differences below with the guitar, you will immediately understand the problem, to find what i call subjective equivalences

    because in fact, that's the problem: learn the bebop phrasing by transposing it from Charlie Parker's saxophone to your guitar, a very brave ambition

    PS : I personally don't have that ambition, I haven't played Donna Lee for over 30 years, and I guess it was a massacre. I don't want to do it again, and this music has been so often misplayed that I can only hear that, the way the aspiring jazzmen have massacred Charlie Parker. I believe I will resume my cycle of daily readings of 1.000.000 words, in silence, with earplugs

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I don't plan on changing my tune, guys. I have a lot of effort and time invested in Donna Lee and so I'm staying with this tune until I feel like I've gotten all I can from it.

    PMB thank you for your advice, and for the clip you posted earlier which I've returned to several times.

    I weary of hearing theoretical ideas and appreciate very much advice from people who actually play bebop well.
    if "theoretical ideas", you think of me, I think I only said very practical and concrete things about the guitar wanting to imitate the saxophone. And if it's to hear from you some softly unpleasant things, don't force me to say what I really think about the way you play, and the disproportionate program you have with Donna Lee. You would save time with a more modest ambition, at the height of your possibilities, that's what you would say an honest and serious jazz guitar teacher, who does not want to be paid for nothing

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    if "theoretical ideas", you think of me, I think I only said very practical and concrete things about the guitar wanting to imitate the saxophone. And if it's to hear from you some softly unpleasant things, don't force me to say what I really think about the way you play, and the disproportionate program you have with Donna Lee. You would save time with a more modest ambition, at the height of your possibilities, that's what you would say an honest and serious jazz guitar teacher, who does not want to be paid for nothing
    I have never claimed to be anything but an amateur who loves this music and loves the guitar. I have never claimed to be an especially good musician, and I have no illusions about my abilities or accomplishments. I do have some very helpful and encouraging feedback from players whom I know to be very accomplished musicians. Since I know the quality of their playing, I have reason to respect their judgment. I still don't know anything about whether you can actually play this music or only talk.

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    You would save time with a more modest ambition, at the height of your possibilities, that's what you would say an honest and serious jazz guitar teacher, who does not want to be paid for nothing
    Complete crock.

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    no, sorry, you're not realistic or modest, otherwise you wouldn't go after Donna Lee
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I still don't know anything about whether you can actually play this music or only talk.
    if you read the topic where I have gathered my musical considerations, with scores, that I am one of the only ones here to post, and the explanations I give, pretend for a moment that one can do it without knowing the guitar thoroughly would be a deception

    and what would it prove, if I recorded a Donna Lee clip with perfect slurs, hammer and pull-off, because I worked them as routines for years, so knowing what I'm talking about? It's unfounded curiosity. For decades, as a method of jazz guitar, we have had only books with scores and charts. I've got dozens of them, no disc or demo tape, no youtube, no narcissic camera. There are none in my methods of Mickey Rocker, Joe Pass, Howard Roberts, Van Eps... The phrasing I learned by ear by listening to Tal Farlow, Raney, Jim Hall and company, with the LP records!

    only, they need you this auditory proof that Patlotch knows how to play the guitar, you are unable to understand that it would add nothing to what I bring in this forum, and if you are therefore unable to enjoy it as a musician. It's not my fault, it's like that

    You even, with Rob McKillop, put a like on Jazzstdnt, which rotted my missing topic, before moderation deleted it. He understood everything wrong and distorted everything, and you liked it. You're proud of it, I suppose. Bravo!

    I suspected that it would end like this, I lacked caution
    cxcvii
    Do not carry Fools on your Back.

    He that does not know a fool when he sees him is one himself: still more he that knows him but will not keep clear of him. They are dangerous company and ruinous confidants. Even though their own caution and others' care keeps them in bounds for a time, still at length they are sure to do or to say some foolishness which is all the greater for being kept so long in stock. They cannot help another's credit who have none of their own. They are most unlucky, which is the Nemesis of fools, and they have to pay for one thing or the other. There is only one thing which is not so bad about them, and this is that though they can be of no use to the wise, they can be of much use to them as signposts or as warnings.

    The Art of Wordly Wisdom Full Text PDF

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    no, sorry, you're not realistic or modest, otherwise you wouldn't go after Donna Lee

    if you read the topic where I have gathered my musical considerations, with scores, that I am one of the only ones here to post, and the explanations I give, pretend for a moment that one can do it without knowing the guitar thoroughly would be a deception

    and what would it prove, if I recorded a Donna Lee clip with perfect slurs, hammer and pull-off, because I worked them as routines for years, so knowing what I'm talking about? It's unfounded curiosity. For decades, as a method of jazz guitar, we have had only books with scores and charts. I've got dozens of them, no disc or demo tape, no youtube, no narcissic camera. There are none in my methods of Mickey Rocker, Joe Pass, Howard Roberts, Van Eps... The phrasing I learned by ear by listening to Tal Farlow, Raney, Jim Hall and company, with the LP records!

    only, they need you this auditory proof that Patlotch knows how to play the guitar, you are unable to understand that it would add nothing to what I bring in this forum, and if you are therefore unable to enjoy it as a musician. It's not my fault, it's like that

    You even, with Rob McKillop, put a like on Jazzstdnt, which rotted my missing topic, before moderation deleted it. He understood everything wrong and distorted everything, and you liked it. You're proud of it, I suppose. Bravo!

    I suspected that it would end like this, I lacked caution
    I am not sure I got your point. Are you saying in addition to being an immodest bad guitarist, I am also a fool?

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I am not sure I got your point. Are you saying in addition to being an immodest bad guitarist, I am also a fool?
    learn to read first

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    no, sorry, you're not realistic or modest, otherwise you wouldn't go after Donna Lee

    if you read the topic where I have gathered my musical considerations, with scores, that I am one of the only ones here to post, and the explanations I give, pretend for a moment that one can do it without knowing the guitar thoroughly would be a deception

    and what would it prove, if I recorded a Donna Lee clip with perfect slurs, hammer and pull-off, because I worked them as routines for years, so knowing what I'm talking about? It's unfounded curiosity. For decades, as a method of jazz guitar, we have had only books with scores and charts. I've got dozens of them, no disc or demo tape, no youtube, no narcissic camera. There are none in my methods of Mickey Rocker, Joe Pass, Howard Roberts, Van Eps... The phrasing I learned by ear by listening to Tal Farlow, Raney, Jim Hall and company, with the LP records!

    only, they need you this auditory proof that Patlotch knows how to play the guitar, you are unable to understand that it would add nothing to what I bring in this forum, and if you are therefore unable to enjoy it as a musician. It's not my fault, it's like that

    You even, with Rob McKillop, put a like on Jazzstdnt, which rotted my missing topic, before moderation deleted it. He understood everything wrong and distorted everything, and you liked it. You're proud of it, I suppose. Bravo!

    I suspected that it would end like this, I lacked caution
    That was a minute of my life I will not get back. Tiresome...

    I remember back in the early 1980s I went to study in one of the early jazz programs anywhere (i.e. Humber College in Toronto) and in my very first ensemble class our band leader Rob Collier placed Donna Lee on our music stands and counted it in fast. We were more advanced than you average first year students but you can imagine what a disaster it was and to make it worse he wouldn't allow us to stop - we had to figure out where we were and how to get things together in real time. At the end of the session it still was a mess but somewhat better. Ron made the point that music is an iterative process and that you learn by doing. he did not see Donna Lee as too much of a challenge or us neophytes and he did not believe you needed to know your instrument "thoroughly" to learn something valuable from struggling with Donna Lee. Know your instrument "thoroughly" is a completely meaningless concept. I do not know of any student of music that knows their instrument "thoroughly." In fact, as they progress, dedicated students of music realize how little they know their instrument and understand that it is an endless process. Only an excessively academic mind could believe in such a thing. There is no right time to learn Donna Lee - just dig in and get what you can out of it. You won't hurt anyone.
    Last edited by Roberoo; 02-15-2020 at 01:54 PM.

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    learn to read first
    So are you now saying I am an immodest, bad guitarist who is also an illiterate fool?

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    So are you now saying I am an immodest, bad guitarist who is also an illiterate fool?
    I say above all, what I reproach myself, that you are someone with whom I waste my time

    it's despairing, because you don't understand what I'm saying. You do not relativize the relationship between where you are and the goal you give yourself, like Sisyphus pushing his (Lawson) Stone

    of course I'd rather see you get to the top triumphant


    but you don't go the way

    so listen, continue with Donna Lee, to speed up what you're doing wrong at 60 bpm, but without me, and what you take for insults
    Last edited by Patlotch; 02-15-2020 at 02:27 PM.

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberoo
    I remember back in the early 1980s I went to study in one of the early jazz programs anywhere (i.e. Humber College in Toronto) and in my very first ensemble class our band leader Rob Collier placed Donna Lee on our music stands and counted it in fast. We were more advanced than you average first year students but you can imagine what a disaster it was and to make it worse he wouldn't allow us to stop - we had to figure out where we were and how to get things together in real time. At the end of the session it still was a mess but somewhat better. Ron made the point that music is an iterative process and that you learn by doing. he did not see Donna Lee as too much of a challenge or us neophytes and he did not believe you needed to know your instrument "thoroughly" to learn something valuable from struggling with Donna Lee. Know your instrument "thoroughly" is a completely meaningless concept. I do not know of any student of music that knows their instrument "thoroughly." In fact, as they progress, dedicated students of music realize how little they know their instrument and understand that it is an endless process. Only an excessively academic mind could believe in such a thing. There is no right time to learn Donna Lee - just dig in and get what you can out of it. You won't hurt anyone.
    it's interesting, but I don't understand exactly what you're saying. Definitely, I agree, there is not a good time to work with Donna Lee, and no need to know the guitar "thoroughly", it's actually stupid and endless, but still some of the guitar techniques that allow to play it with some air of bebop, what Lawson-Stone is looking for. Right and left hand techniques that are acquired with well-known specific exercises

    one can also think that some themes are more appropriate to a certain musical and guitar level, I guess the teachers here are a little experienced for that, suitable for everyone

    but Donna Lee is a myth, for saxophonists as well as guitarists, or even bassists since Jaco Pastorius

    icing on the cake, we are in the improvisation section. I wonder if we progress in improvisation, learning by heart, from a reading on paper, the solo of Charlie Parker. Yes, this is analyzed to understand his choice of notes in relation to harmony, and then we try his own solo on the same harmonic series. In other words, even as a beginner, you start to improvise, ie play your own notes

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    it's despairing, because you don't understand what I'm saying. You do not relativize the relationship between where you are and the goal you give yourself, like Sisyphus pushing his (Lawson) Stone

    of course I'd rather see you get to the top triumphant


    but you don't go the way

    so listen, continue with Donna Lee, to speed up what you're doing wrong at 60 bpm, but without me, and what you take for insults
    I have never chosen you as my teacher. You are just an anonymous forum member who posts very long, rambling, messages about your musical theories. You have not earned any credibility, so i have no reason to believe that what you say is true or useful. I am not expecting you to get me to the top of the mountain, because I do not feel as though I am climbing a mountain, and I do not know if you even know the way up there, since you give no proof that you have climbed it yourself.

    I'm enjoying my instrument, learning to play music that I love, surrounded by my beloved books and scholarly works that are part of my profession, with sunshine streaming into my office and my horses out in the pasture. There is no stone to roll down the mountain, and I am not Sisyphus. The world will not stop turning if my "Donna Lee" performance is imperfect, and I know it will be better tomorrow than it is today.

    Meanwhile, many on this forum have indeed proven the fruitfulness and usefulness of their ideas and earned their credibility as teachers and reliable guides. Their advice weighs strongly with me. Until you have earned your right to be respected as a reliable guide to making good music, I will continue to push my stone around, which in fact has not rolled back down the hill. I am making very happy progress in my music, and appreciating the encouragement I get from the real professional players and teachers on this forum.