Donna Lee

When I was in college I worked in the Music Library for a time. I listened to a lot of Joe Pass. This is Pass and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen covering ‘Donna Lee’. (via Dan Wineman’s venemous porridge.)


“Donna Lee” is one of those bebop standards that’s so difficult it’s almost a joke. At its prescribed tempo, it’s barely approachable by mortals. Here, Joe Pass hits the ground at a full sprint, about four times faster than normal, and NHØP doubles him note-for-note. On a fucking upright bass.

Seriously. There is something quite intense about a musician operating at the absolute peak of technique. Related: check out the late Jaco covering ‘Donna Lee’ on fretless electric bass with trumpet and (yes!) bass clarinet.