View Poll Results: Who do YOU think composed "Donna Lee"?

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  • Charlie Parker

    27 54.00%
  • Miles Davis

    23 46.00%
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Posts 26 to 44 of 44
  1. #26

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    Lol. Awesome. I never heard that. I guess I never read the thread, as usual. Lol.


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  3. #27

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    Also Mingus and Miles played together a lot in the early days. It conceivable Miles took a Mingus chart and altered it.

    But I always wondered who the hell Donna Lee was. As far as I know she was Mingus' girlfriend.

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  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    I don't think Miles wrote, or could even play DL, and he stole so many tunes that this was probably just another example of that.
    Miles, as a leader, took writing credit for pieces by his sidemen, just as other leaders have done (Monk got sole writing credit for Eronel at first, for instance). That actually supports the idea that Miles really wrote DL and Bird, as the leader, took the writing credit. When Miles became a leader himself he figured it was his turn and took writing credit for Nardis, for instance. That's what I assume.

  5. #29

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    A lot of the tunes started as heads made up at jam sessions, so there was always issues between them who wrote what. The old cats I get to hang with their discussion always become "when did the mofo write something else like that???".

  6. #30

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  7. #31

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    There are seriously more people who think Parker composed Donna Lee than Miles Davis? SMH.

  8. #32

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    In school, I was always told, "well, it's common knowledge that Miles wrote it." So I always answer that Miles wrote it, but it seems somewhere between Miles and Bird. Definitely too simple for Bird. ...I don't know.

    It never felt like Miles was comfortable playing it. Can I say that? Oh well, he's still a hell of a lot more comfortable playing it than I am.

    I think I'll stop talking now. :-)

  9. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottM
    In school, I was always told, "well, it's common knowledge that Miles wrote it." So I always answer that Miles wrote it, but it seems somewhere between Miles and Bird. Definitely too simple for Bird. ...I don't know.

    It never felt like Miles was comfortable playing it. Can I say that? Oh well, he's still a hell of a lot more comfortable playing it than I am.

    I think I'll stop talking now. :-)
    I'm not the best person at playing my tunes by a long shot.

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    There are seriously more people who think Parker composed Donna Lee than Miles Davis? SMH.
    Why SMH? Miles was famous for stealing tunes. Even though he was playing with Bird at the time, the song seems uncharacteristic for Miles.


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  11. #35

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    I find Donna Lee to be uncharacteristic of Parker, almost a parody of him, therefore I think young Davis wrote the great line.

  12. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Why SMH? Miles was famous for stealing tunes. Even though he was playing with Bird at the time, the song seems uncharacteristic for Miles.


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    Little willie leaps?

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Little willie leaps?
    Yes Miles wrote (or 'came up with'!) a few tunes in a very similar vein at that time. Another one is Sippin' at Bells. They are all on that Savoy session he did with Bird on tenor. Like Donna Lee, they have long lines of 8th notes with hardly any of those rhythmic rests/displacements that Bird tended to put into his tunes.

    So my vote goes to Miles. Even if he stole it!

  14. #38

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    I'm referring to this session:

    Miles Davis' All Stars

    Miles Davis, trumpet; Charlie Parker, tenor sax; John Lewis, piano; Nelson Boyd, bass; Max Roach, drums. Harry Smith Studios, NYC, August 14, 1947

    S3440-1 Milestones (orig.-take 1) Savoy 45-310, SJL 5500
    S3440-2 Milestones (new-take 2) Savoy 934, XP 8004, MG 9001, MG 12009, SJL 2201, SJL 5500
    S3440-3 Milestones (orig.-take 3) Savoy MG 12001, SJL 1107, SJL 5500

    S3441-1 Little Willie Leaps (short-take 1) Savoy MG 12001, SJL 5500
    S3441-2 Little Willie Leaps (new-take 2) Savoy MG 12001, SJL 1107, SJL 5500
    S3441-3 Little Willie Leaps (orig.-take 3) Savoy 977, 45-305, 4507, XP 8006, XP 8098, MG 9001, MG 9034, MG 12001, SJL 2201, SJL 5500

    S3442-1 Half Nelson (new-take 1) Savoy MG 12001, SJL 1107, SJL 5500
    S3442-2 Half Nelson (orig.-take 2) Savoy 951, 45-303, 4507, XP 8005, MG 9000, MG 12009, SJL 2201, SJL 5500

    S3443-1 Sippin' At Bells (short-take 1) Savoy MG 12009, SJL 5500
    S3443-2 Sippin' At Bells (orig.-take 2) Savoy 934, 45-306, XP 8004, MG 9000, MG 12009, SJL 2201, SJL 5500
    S3443-3 Sippin' At Bells (short-take 3) Savoy SJL 5500
    S3443-4 Sippin' At Bells (new-take 4) Savoy MG 12001, SJL 1107, SJL 5500

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    I'm referring to this session:

    Miles Davis' All Stars

    ... Half Nelson ..
    Interesting set of coincidences ...,

    - I did not know about this tune, this today is the first time I've ever heard of it .
    - Couple of months ago, for the pourpose of Practical Standards thread, I renamed "Embraceable You" to "Half Nelson",
    - On that recording, I played somewhat twisted head of "Donna Lee" in place of "improvised solo".
    If anybody's interested, you can check it on my YT channel, or on my blog page, post from 22. Feb. 2018.

    Listening to these Savoy recordings, Miles Stars ..., must say it's some almost too good to be true stuff. Parker on tenor - cool ... Miles sounds better than anywhere, anytime .... Jazz ... Nice ...

    Back on topic and comments about Donna Lee, ever since I learned that melody, it is about the only melody I want to play. Probably the best Jazz melody ever conceived.

  16. #40

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    Just to confuse matters, 'Half Nelson' is in fact a contrafact of Tadd Dameron's 'Lady Bird'.

    Dexter Gordon and James Moody did a good version where they incorporated both themes.

  17. #41

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    Don't know for sure who wrote it but I'll bet that if Jimmy Page ever records it, I know who'll get the credits.

  18. #42

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    Not sure that Miles could complain anyway, seeing as he stole 'Solar' from Chuck Wayne.

  19. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Not sure that Miles could complain anyway, seeing as he stole 'Solar' from Chuck Wayne.
    Along with stealing "Blue in Green and at least half of "Flamenco Sketches" from Bill Evans, "Four" from Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, and according to this thread, a bunch of others from various musicians:
    TIL Miles Davis didn'''t write "Four". : Jazz

  20. #44
    Ill defer to the more scholarly but of the two I would chose Bird.