Thursday, 5 May 2016

Donna Lee + Melodic Solo Study

There are some jazz standards that scare many beginners or even medium level improvisers (me included). One of them is "Donna Lee" (attributed to Charlie Parker, now appears as composed by Miles Davis) and based on the chord changes of the song "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" composed by Ballard MacDonald and James F. Hanley in 1917.

Roughly, the form can be seen as A-B-Av-C.
Let's start by learning the theme and playing it over a mildly slow backing track.

Here's the lead sheet as PDF in C, B♭ and E♭. Click the image to download it.
I've made a simple solo, medium level, on the "Donna Lee" chord changes. I played it on flugelhorn over a backing track previously linked here. Here's how it sounds:

And here is the music sheet for B♭ instruments. Click the image to download it. 

After you manage to play it on this slow tempo, you might want to try playing it over more backing tracks at a faster tempo. Here are some of my favorites from YouTube:

For more useful information about Donna Lee, form, history and context in the jazz culture, see here:
chord progression for C, Bb and Eb instruments + backing track
and a "stress free" leson by Steve Neff

By downloading the provided files you accept the following terms:
You may use the provided backing tracks for:
  • practice;
  • recording/filming yourself soloing on top of it, and posting on YouTube or similar free services;
  • use in a live performance/show. 
You may not:
  • use it for commercial purposes (put it on a CD and sell it, sell it online, etc)
Disclaimer: All materials are properties of their owners, and are used here for informative and educational purposes. I don't accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, liability, injury or upset caused to or suffered by you as a result of misusing this material.
Cheers and happy learning,

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