Craig Butterfield: Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee” on Double Bass

Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee” is just one of those tunes that acts as a benchmark for skill. Ever since Jaco’s take on it from his debut album, bassists have been giving it a shot.

Here’s an one mind-blowing version by University of South Carolina double bass professor Craig Butterfield, playing along with Parker’s original recording.

Not only does he nail the head, but he goes on to match the saxophonist’s blazing solo, note for note.

I’m not sure which is more impressive – the absolute precision in Butterfield’s playing, or the fact that he acts like nothing just happened.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Clifton Ray Jackson

    Very Impressive!

  2. back 2 the lab agin!

  3. Dude Damn! Beautiful!

  4. Great playing! Just a small correction though. Donna Lee was actually composed my Miles Davis, despite the common misconception that Parker wrote it.

    • The only source that points to Miles Davis writing Donna Lee was in his autobiography, and Miles had a nasty habit of claiming credit for writing things that he very clearly didn’t (most infamously Blue in Green, which was a Bill Evans composition). Besides, there’s nothing in Donna Lee that points to Miles’ melodic or compositional sensibility – it’s pure Bird.

      Anyway, this bass playing was fantastic!

  5. Wow, great playing. Back to the shed for me.

  6. Great Mastery! Thanks Craig.

  7. Thomas Haile

    Wow, The guy has chops. If I had one critique it would be that while technically beautiful it didn’t sounds like it had any feeling to it. Maybe because of the pace of the song. Just a thought.

  8. andy alonso


  9. thickerstrings