Sunday, November 09, 2008

Autumn Serenade

Many years ago, I had a friend in Buffalo* who turned me on to good coffee and Johnny Hartman. He bought his beans green, and would roast and grind them each time he made coffee. A trip to his house in the old Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo was always a treat.

In 1963, John Coltrane cut his only album with a vocalist. Hartman's smooth baritone was a perfect match for Coltrane's ballad style. While the title track, Lush Life, is by far the most famous song from the disc, there's not a miss in the bunch. The album ends with Autumn Serenade.

The sudden cold yesterday after a warm, sunny week has scared most of the remaining leaves from the trees. This afternoon I briefly helped my father rake the yard. Later, I saw groups of college students raking leaves along Temple and Leverett streets in the village (community service, surely). Autumn comes to an abrupt, early end here in Western New York, and the song Autumn Serenade is on my mind as I rue the end of this lovely season.

* Though we lost track after college, I ran into him in Tokyo a few years later. Not just that once, but THREE TIMES over the course of about a month. I found it an amazing case of serendipity, but he dismissed the significance of it. Mr Kipler, if you're out there, I'd love to hear from you.


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