November 10, 2010

Jazz Love: Autumn Leaves

Ok, I'll be honest: this is one of those songs that everyone records and everyone loves, and I really don't see why.  The melody is sort of melancholic the way a cold crisp fall afternoon is, but it doesn't have the best lyrics.  So I was surprised to fall madly, deeply, in love with this (ten minute long) version by Cannonball Adderley, featuring Miles Davis on a muted trumpet.

"Autumn Leaves" was originally a French song called "The Dead Leaves" (music by Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert). It was recorded in French and English by Edith Piaf. Johnny Mercer wrote the English lyrics, and it was first recorded in America by Jo Stafford.

This is perhaps the most popular instrumental version, though Bill Evans famously recorded it too (a live version is below). Found on Cannonball Adderley's Somethin' Else (Blue Note, 1958), it also features Hank Jones on piano, Sam Jones on bass, and Art Blakey on drums.

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