Basspiration Friday – 1/23/2015

I graduated from Wichita State University in fall of 1996 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. While in the music ed department I had to declare either a main instrument or study as a vocal major. I chose electric bass as my main instrument and studied under Dr. Mark Foley.

On my senior recital I played the Charlie Parker (or Miles Davis) jazz tune “Donna Lee.” The tune has become somewhat of a standard study piece in the electric bass repertoire. Of course, this is because of the legendary recording by Jaco Pastorius from his first solo record. I was able to learn the head of the tune at a moderate tempo and figured out a few licks that would take me a couple of times through the tune. Nothing groundbreaking but I learned a lot and it was great fun to play.

Then along comes a guy like double bassist Craig Butterfield. Butterfield not only learns the tune up to Charlie Parker’s tempo, but then he learns Bird’s solo and plays it note-for-stinkin’-note. On the upright. All while playing arco. Are you kidding me?!? That, dear reader, is basspirational.

Butterfield has many great videos of his playing on his site. The guy is a monster player. Here is his arrangement of Frank Zappa’s “Peaches en Regalia.”


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