Friday, September 08, 2006
i am, in my own ungainly manner, learning to play the piano. my goal is to be able to pick up a fake book and play jazz standards with some degree of fluidity. i'm taking lessons weekly. and currently can almost get through "georgia on my mind" and a few other chestnuts without making glaring mistakes.
while looking for tunes to learn i came across "autumn leaves," written by joseph kosma, with lyrics by johnny mercer. while hoagy carmichael's "stardust" is often touted as the most beautiful popular melody ever written, and the overwrought instrumental hit from the 50s by roger william's notwithstanding, i cast my vote for "autumn leaves".
listen to the eva cassiday's or nat king cole's versions for verification. and dig the lyrics by johnny mercer. no tricks. no fancy metaphors. no internal rhyme scheme. just simple poetry to the accompaniment of an intelligent, descending melody and beautiful chord changes.
the lyrics herewith:
the falling leaves drift by my window,
the falling leaves of red and gold.
i see your lips, the summer kisses,
the sunburned hands I used to hold
since you went away the days grow long,
and soon I'll hear old winter's song.
but I miss you most of all, my darling
when autumn leaves start to fall.