September 25, 2008

"Autumn Leaves"

A story about man's most desperate need...and woman's

From the Wikipedia entry:

"Autumn Leaves" is a much-recorded popular song. Originally a 1945 French song "Les feuilles mortes" (literally "Dead Leaves") with music by Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert, English lyrics were written in 1947 by the American songwriter Johnny Mercer. It has become a pop standard and a jazz standard in both languages, and as an instrumental. "Les feuilles mortes" was introduced by Yves Montand in 1946 for the film Les Portes de la Nuit.

The film Autumn Leaves (1956) featured the song, which was sung by Nat King Cole over the title sequence. The French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg wrote "La chanson de Prévert" as a tribute to this song.

"Autumn Leaves" offers a popular way for beginning jazz musicians to become acquainted with jazz harmony as it consists almost solely of II-V-I and II-V sequences which are typical of jazz. For example, in the key of G minor it opens with Cm7 (II) - F7 (V) - Bbmaj7 (I). The bridge contains the same sequence as well as Fm7 (II) - Bb7 (V) - Ebmaj7.

Here is Nat King Cole from (I assume) an episode of The Nat King Cole Show:

And finally, a live performance by The Oscar Peterson Trio in '65:

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