Thursday, October 8, 2015

Autumn - 'Tis Autumn

Original sheet music
A jazz standard with reference to the present season is of course Autumn Leaves, but here I like to focus on another which may not be as well known as Joseph Kosma's tune, originally titled Les feuilles mortes in French.

The shown 'Tis Autumn was composed by Henry Nemo in 1941, and he also wrote the lyrics for the song. Henry Nemo (1909 – 1999) was a musician, songwriter and film actor, his songwriting comprised a collaboration with Irving Mills and John Redmond for the lyrics of I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart with music by Duke Ellington. Nemo himself composed the standards Don't Take Your Love From Me and the mentioned 'Tis Autumn.

Woody Herman and his orchestra
Woody Herman and his orchestra was one of the first popular jazz ensembles to record a version of 'Tis Autumn. Woody Herman recorded the tune on 13 November 1941 for Decca featuring his orchestra and vocals by the leader himself, Carolyn Grey and ensemble. This version has been uploaded at YouTube and is inserted here.

The Nat King Cole Trio had a hit with 'Tis Autumn in 1949, you can find it at YouTube by clicking here.  Below I'll concentrate on some instrumental versions of the tune. - Here is Red Garland's version of the tune recorded 27 November 1958 and issued on the Prestige LP All Kinds of Weather featuring Red Garland (p) Paul Chambers (b) Art Taylor (dms)

Another instrumental version of 'Tis Autumn is the following by Stan Getz, recorded 1952

The Chet Baker Septet also recorded an instrumental version of 'Tis Autum 19 January 1959, released on the Riverside LP titled Chet. The septet comprise: Chet Baker (trumpet), Herbie Mann (flute), Pepper Adams (baritone sax), Bill Evans (piano), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Paul Chambers (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums) 

'Tis Autumn is also the main title of a documentary by filmmaker Raymond De Felitta, who released 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris' in 2007 - a filmed protrait of the jazz singer Jackie Paris.
Original film poster
The Rotten Tomatoes website has this info about the film:
"In the 1950s and '60s, Jackie Paris was one of the most celebrated jazz vocalists of his generation; he collaborated with such giants as Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Dizzy Gillespie, he was a favorite of leading music critics, and recorded for such top jazz labels as Impulse and East-West. But ten years on, Paris had fallen so far off the radar that a major jazz reference work reported that Paris had died in 1977, even though he was still around and occasionally performing at the time. In the 1990s, filmmaker Raymond De Felitta heard some of Paris' recordings and became an instant fan, and was deeply curious about Paris' life and career, and how an artist with such gifts had become little more than a footnote in music history. De Felitta's search eventually led him to Paris himself, and a fascinating story of bad luck, a wildly dysfunctional family, dangerous pride, a hair-trigger temper, and a remarkable voice that somehow survived it all, even if his career did not. 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris is a documentary which chronicles De Felitta's search for the elusive singer."
Jackie Paris
The documentary was well received by the critics and the public, as the theme of the story transcends the individual fate of the protagonist:
"‘Tis Autumn – The Search For Jackie Paris is not just a documentary about a great but unheralded jazz singer. It’s a film that explores the very nature of what it is to live the life of an artist–any artist. Filmmaker Raymond De Felitta examines the life of cult favorite jazz singer Jackie Paris, but at the same time he might as well be exploring the life of any artist in any discipline, too many of whom share the same fate that Paris did; the explosive debut followed by the years of ups and downs, the constant hope that success, though out of reach, is around the corner, the private tragedies that grow out of artistic frustration, and the final, self-inflicted wounds which all too often cause the once promising to descend into bitterness and chaos, a prelude to vanishing completely." (qouted from this source).

To end this, here is Jackie Paris in his last public performance in 2004 singing 'Tis Autumn from the documentary by Raymond De Felitta


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