Autumn Leaves (J.Prevert/J.Kosma)


compositeur : J.Prévert / J.Kosma


  • Instrumental


  • Standard
  • Matched Reciprocal


  • Audio mp3


Autumn Leaves

J.Prévert / J.Kosma

One of the rare French compositions to have entered the international repertoire of jazz standards, Autumn Leaves, a composition by Joseph Kosma on a text by Jacques Prévert (Johnny Mercer for the English version) is taken from Marcel Carné’s film “Les portes de la Nuit” (1946). As in all Broadway and Tin Pan Alley standards (named from the street where the scores were sold) a rubato intro is almost never played. The standard develops on the chorus of the song. The harmonic progression has also become a classic of jazz harmony. The song is in Em (or Gm in the jazz version). The harmonic pattern is a fourth progression: IV / VIIb / III / VI / II / V / I.

The arrangement of Stick is totally jazz in spirit. The left hand plays a walking bass line with emphasis on joint movements and arpeggios and the right hand plays the melody in chords (when possible) with the concept of the drop 2 of the jazz guitar in the Joe Pass style. One finger plays the note of the melody and the two others complete the chord notes.

For the left hand concentrate on the fluidity, suppleness and regularity of the quarter notes. Don’t hesitate to use pull-offs and hammer-on to add swing to the bass line.
This bass line is given as an indication. Don’t get stuck in its repetition, but try to find slightly different ways for each solo grid. A walking bass is not a succession of repetitive patterns but a free path for the bass through the harmony.

This harmonic grid, so often played, is a must in the standards. Whatever your level of improvisation you will always find something to say about it. Clear chords, a melody and beautiful lyrics that stays in your head in 5 minutes, only two relative keys (G major and E minor) all the ingredients are there to make this piece one of the greatest and most affordable jazz standards.


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