Yesterday was the first really dreary day of autumn, and I was missing my jazz music while driving to work in the rain. A postwar bebop trio would’ve been the perfect antidote to the gloom. It’s almost as if a little gloominess is indispensable to those old tunes, like the glow of a fire which we savor all the more because of the contrast with the discomfort outside. For that same reason many of the best jazz songs betray a hint of melancholy that is balanced with the lighter, happier motifs.
Red Garland’s album When There are Gray Skies is ideal for autumn. I also enjoy Vince Guaraldi’s original Halloween and Thanksgiving themes and that old standard “Autumn Leaves” (performed by Guaraldi and almost everyone else). Plenty of good bebop lends itself to quiet moments, no matter what the season. But there is something particularly reflective and thoughtful about fall versus the warmer months. People are a little less extroverted if only because the colder temperatures are driving them indoors. For some restful tracks to soothe you either on the way to or from work, I recommend Billy Taylor’s renditions of “Little Girl Blue” and “Cool and Caressing” found on the Billy Taylor Trio.
Another Garland album is All Kinds of Weather, one of my favorite jazz CDs. The first track is appropriately titled “Rain,” though it is a sprightly little piece more reminiscent of the gentle showers of late spring and early summer. Another track, “Stormy Weather,” is just perfect in its gently brooding manner. However, I refuse to play Garland’s delightful rendition of “Winter Wonderland” if only because I’m very strict about not celebrating the “holidays” (e.g. Christmas) until after Thanksgiving!
Related post: A Musical Interlude