Early Autumn Three Ways

First, from an upstairs window looking across the valley. This is a fine time of year to live in the high desert at the foot of the Cascades.

Early Autumn From Upstairs

Next, in the exquisite 1948 original adapted by Ralph Burns from a movement of his Summer Sequence suite for the Woody Herman Ochestra. This is the recording that sent young Stan Getz on his way to tenor saxophone fame. A YouTube contributor identified as ZOrkaz added the autumnal photographs.

If Johnny Mercer had written nothing but, “There’s a dance pavilion in the rain, all shuttered down, a winding country lane all russet brown,” he would be in the lyricist hall of fame for evocative imagery. Jo Stafford sang Mercer’s lyric with the perfection of simplicity. Her husband, Paul Weston, wrote the arrangement.

Stafford’s “Early Autumn” is in her collection The Big Band Sound, released on the Westons’ Corinthian label in 1993 and, happily, still available.

There is no evidence that Miley Cyrus was influenced by Jo Stafford.

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  1. John Pickworth says

    Also worth checking Woody’s version from Mars Sessions 7 July 1952 Originally on London Records, and also released on Discovery. Vocal by Woody.

    • Doug Ramsey says

      There were 37 tracks by the Third Herd on two 10-inch LPs on Woody’s Mars label. Twenty-four of them, including “Early Autumn,” have made their way to iTunes. I find no indication that the Mars albums have been reissued on CD.

  2. Charlton Price says

    Getz’ biographer Don Maggin says that Stan here plays “one of the most beautifully conceived expressions of romantic yearning in all of American popular music. Everything fits perfectly: his caressing sound, his creation of a haunting improvised melody, his relaxed manipulation of the rhythms. The solo connected powerfully with the romantic fantasies of postwar America …”..Such as those of Yrs Truly, who was 21 at the time.

    • Doug Ramsey says

      Allow me to congratulate you on not knowing.

      Miley Cyrus, a pop music performer, is the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus, a country-rock-pop music performer from a previous generation who had a hit record and gained notoriety for dancing to it suggestively on the Grammy awards telecast in 1992. Carrying on the family tradition, Ms. Cyrus has attained a considerable degree of exposure for her considerable degree of exposure on the recent Video Music Awards broadcast, in which she employed her vocal and physical equipment. Rifftides will not embed the video. If you decide that you want to see it, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Please be sure that the children are fast asleep or out of the house.

      I assumed that her notoriety was sufficiently widespread, so to speak, that everyone would understand the reference. I think I’m sorry that I brought this up.

  3. Dave Berk says

    (1) “Early Autumn” was released in the CD format on Albert Marx’ Discovery label, which still rests in the Warner Bros. archives along with many other Trend (Matt Dennis, etc.) and Musicraft (Dizzy, Sarah Vaughan, Mel-Tones, etc..) Please don’t get me started on this subject. Verve/Universal also had the “Dance Date On Mars” on CD for awhile.

    (2) Let me remind you of the fabulous reading of this tune by Jan Lundgren recorded at the Jazz Bakery; and, the recreation of the original Herman/Getz gig by the Double Six of Paris: Les Double-Six.

  4. roger hunter says

    The Mars Years Vols 1 & 2 by Woody Herman, were available on UK amazon last year. I have them both. They include two versions of “Early Autumn”; one a vocal by Woody, the other featuring tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins. The sound is excellent.

  5. dick vartanian says

    Assuming that Miley Cyrus was influenced by Jo Stafford is like believing that Kenny G was influenced by Paul Desmond

  6. Bruce Armstrong says

    There is also a very nice version of Early Autumn by Getz–with string orchestra arranged and conducted by Russ Garcia–originally released in 1960 or 1961 that I have owned almost from its release date. The recording was originally on Verve and titled Cool Velvet / Stan Getz and Strings. It was recorded in West Germany and although it received mild response in the jazz press at the time I thought Garcia’s writing was outstanding and complimented Stan perfectly. I got a CD reissue some years ago that included both “Cool Velvet” and another Getz recording from the 60s–Voices. Not sure if it is still available.