Autumn Leaves [Introduction]

Difficulty: Purple
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Autumn Leaves is a popular song written in 1945 and the original lyrics are in French! Johnny Mercer wrote the English lyric in 1947 and it's since been a pop and jazz hit in both languages!

It's a very popular jazz standard for beginner's as it's harmonically pretty simple but it's a great one to develop and learn things like chord melody and walking bass!

Before starting work on the song, you really should try and listen to a few versions, particularly vocal versions, I think listening to one with a lyric really helps you understand the phrasing of the melody. Of course, some songs don't have words, but if a song has words, find some vocal recordings.

Check out how they all vary the melody a bit and remember when you play it you don't have to play it 'exactly as the book says', in fact if you do, you are missing the point!

Vocal Versions:
Eva Cassidy (not really a jazz version, but it's beautiful).
Frank Sinatra (If Frank sings something, it's worth checking out, legend).
Nat King Cole (A version from his own TV show, what an incredible voice).
Yves Montand - Les Feuilles Mortes (Just in case you wanna hear the French version!)
Sarah Vaughan (This lady is just amazing, great guitar playing on it too, it's all scat improv vocals)

Instrumental Versions:
Cannonball Adderly (Amazing band, Miles on trumpet, a superb version, possibly my favourite!).
Joe Pass (He's one of my all time favourite guitarists, and he's a typically incredible solo version!)
Barney Kessel (Incredible guitarist, great chord melody at the start and then some great improvisations).
Stan Getz (Wonderful tone and some really tasty simple twists to the melody and well steal-able lines!)

So go do some listening and then come back and get started on learning the tune!

Jazz Standards

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