By my count, pianist Bill Evans recorded Autumn in New York twice. The one that most jazz fans are familiar with features Evans playing a rushed solo version in 1963, a recording that wasn't released until 1989, nine years after his death. Evans didn't care for these solo sessions, finding the results half-baked and below his standards. Orrin Keepnews and Milestone Records honored his wish and held off issuing them.
Of course, Evans was wrong. The Solo Sessions (Volumes 1 and 2) are superb and provide a stark glimpse into Evans' improvisational whimsy and exploration. The date's Autumn in New York (teamed with How About You) is no exception, though it's more like Autumn in a Gale.
The superior, more romantic Autumn in New York by Evans was recorded five years earlier in 1958. It's hidden on George Russell's New York, New York, tucked into the track East Side Medley. The band on the date watched in awe as Evans handled the beginning as a solo. Then the musicians joined in: Art Farmer, Doc Severinsen, Ernie Royal (tp) Bob Brookmeyer, Frank Rehak, Tom Mitchell (tb) Hal McKusick (as) John Coltrane (ts) Sol Schlinger (bar) Bill Evans (p) Barry Galbraith (g) Milt Hinton (b) Charlie Persip (d) Jon Hendricks (narrator) George Russell (arr,dir).
I'll have more on this vital session in the weeks ahead from the date's contractor. For now, here's Bill Evans' Autumn in New York, from 1958...