Uncovered a new gem in my music collection last night. As is my custom with the new year, I am currently listening through my entire collection in a systematic fashion. I have two different playlists I choose from: all albums with 0 play count (just ones to which I haven’t listened), and albums with a “last played” date from the year 2010. I was getting ready to read in one of my class books so I went to my jazz section to choose something light. I stumbled upon Cannonball Adderly’s classic Somethin’ Else. I’ve listened to this one quite a bit, it’s a really great album featuring Miles Davis. I’ve had this album in my library for probably five or six years, at least since 2005. And originally, I only got this album because the cover art for John Mayer Trio’s album Try! was essentially an exact copy of the cover art for Something’ Else. Cool connection there. Thanks John.
Anyway, I play the first track, entitled Autumn Leaves. Again, nothing special, I’ve listened to this tune quite a few times and have enjoyed it. But this time, I hear the melody kick in right around the 1:30 mark. Normally with jazz tunes, my ear isn’t good enough to actually know what the melody line is unless I’ve heard the tune in some other context (i.e. John Coltrane’s cover of My Favorite Things, as that’s a famous song outside of Coltrane’s recording, I know when he plays the melody line). This was the case with this song. The previous times I’d heard it I wouldn’t have been able to pick out the melody line. This time, however, I heard something familiar around the 1:30 mark that pricked my ear. I couldn’t figure out where I’d heard it before. I checked the song title (I hadn’t really thought about what I was listening to other than the album title) and realized this was a song I fell in love with a few months ago after I got Eric Clapton’s latest album, Clapton.
It was a pretty good album; I’d given it a few listens but didn’t go nuts over it. Except for the closing track, Autumn Leaves. I didn’t know when I first heard it that it was a cover, I just thought it was a beautiful, heart-breaking, gorgeously-played tune written by Clapton. It didn’t seem like an off-base assumption; many of his songs feature chords that fit so well together iced with breathtaking guitar lines. I listened to this song over and over when I first got the album, I could not get over how simple and how beautiful the chords sounded. And his solo at the end just blew me away. More than anything the tone of his guitar sounds so rich.
So I loved the song. I had no idea the song was 65 years old. It was originally a french tune written by Joseph Kosma entitled “Les Feuilles Mortes” (“The Dead Leaves”) and English lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer, a stalwart contributor to the Great American Songbook. It has been recorded by a variety of different artists, and is a fairly common jazz standard due to its simple yet creatively beautiful chord progression.
This was mainly an exciting find to me because of the potential that still lies in my music library. I’ve been listening to it, adding to it, trimming it, editing it for years now, and still, I just now found a new musical connection that blew me away between two completely unrelated albums. What other awesome links are waiting for me to find?
Here’s what I found: