Yesterday I posted on the origins of Autumn in New York, why this fall classic is so beautiful, and the criteria for a great rendition. For me, a perfect execution has just the right mix of wistful nostalgia and excitement about the present. It's simultaneously a seasonal mash note and marriage proposal. Yesterday I also shared with you my top 10 jazz versions of the standard. But as is the case with most lists, 10 just doesn't do the trick. Here then is my second set of 10, in order—numbered 11 through 20. All are at iTunes and Amazon, unless otherwise noted:
11. Bill Evans (1963). Evans recorded the song as part of a medley that wisely combined Autumn in New York and How About You. It eventually was released as part of The Solo Sessions Vol. 2. Evans' spirit here is upbeat, and the pace is brisk as he captures the song and the feel of dry leaves skittering along the pavement.
12. Sonny Stitt and Oscar Peterson (1957). Backed by pianist Peterson, Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown (bass) and Jo Jones (drums), Stitt keeps many of his bluesy cliches to a minimum and hunkers down on alto sax for an impassioned rendition. It's pure magic to listen to these artists play together live at the Newport Jazz Festival.
13. Tete Montoliu (1971). Blind Spanish pianist Montoliu fully appreciated the richness of the song, taking the Vernon Duke standard at various tempos on the solo effort. You'll find it as a CD or download at Amazon.
14. Kenny Burrell (1958). Burrell recorded this on Blue Lights with Duke Jordan on piano, Sam Jones on bass and Art Blakey on drums. Taken at the beat of a pulse, it's sensitive but resists becoming too cloying or chewy. And as Burrell proves, the guitar may be one of the best instruments for this song.
15. Kenny Dorham (1956). Performing live, trumpeter Kenny Dorham delivers a fabulous measured reading with tremendous support from Bobby Timmons on piano, Sam Jones on bass and Arthur Edgehill drums. You'll find it on 'Round About Midnight at the Cafe Bohemia.
16. Mary Lou Williams (1954). This was recorded in Paris, originally for the Blue Star label. Williams covers this one with full-chord richness reminiscent of Erroll Garner and Bud Powell. Williams comes at the song a bit differently, almost as if unfamiliar with the tune. Which is what makes it particularly interesting. Williams was joined by Buddy Banks on bass and Jean-Louis Viale on drums. It's on Jazz in Paris: I Made You Love Paris.
17. Bud Powell (1953). This version is
among the most bombastic. At first listen, it sounds like Powell is playing with a pair of hammers. But as you absorb what Bud is doing, you come to realize there's a fascinating interpretation here. Originally released on Blue Note's The Amazing Bud Powell (Vol. 2), it's available on many compilations. It features George Duvivier on bass and Art Taylor on drums.
18. George Coleman (1978). Amsterdam After Dark is one of tenor saxophonist Coleman's finest albums of the 1970s. It was recorded in New York, and Coleman soars and dives on Autumn in New York, running wonderful lines during the song's breaks. Hilton Ruiz is on piano, Sam Jones is on bass and Billy Higgins is on drums.
19. Sarah Vaughan (1956). This one appeared on Vaughan's Great Songs From Hit Shows, with arrangements by Hal Mooney. It's moody and lush, and Sassy goes deep to tug out every bit of sentiment and yearning.
20. Chet Baker and Stan Getz (1958). Admittedly a lighter version, Chet's interpretation coupled with Stan's sound results in a whispery tribute. The duo are joined by Jodie Christian (piano), Victor Sproles (bass) and Marshall Thompson (drums). You'll find it on Stan Meets Chet.