Autumn in New York - The Music of Vernon Duke

Dick Hyman, famous pianist, organist, arranger, and general jazz notable, is here presented in one of his earliest recordings. Hyman went on to play with Benny Goodman, Ruby Braff, Ralph Sutton, Marian McPartland, Doc Severinsen, Roy Eldridge, and many others. This album provides a very personal, warm look at Hyman's playing, showcasing the artist and the wonderful music of Vernon Duke. Listen to the creative and intelligent approach he takes to these songs, and enjoy a wonderful album from a jazz giant's early days.

In 1952, a 25-year old Dick Hyman recorded an album of the songs of Kurt Weill, Noel Coward and Vernon Duke. While the choices of Weill and Coward were a bit offbeat, a solo piano set of Vernon Duke numbers was logical since many of the composer's songs were on their way to becoming jazz standards. Vernon Duke (1903-69) may not have achieved the permanent fame of Gershwin, Porter, Arlen, Berlin or Rodgers but he was on their level. Born as Vladimir Aleksandrovich Dukelsky in Russia, he studied at the Kiev Conservatory when he was 11. In 1919 his family became refugees due to the Russian civil war. In 1921 they settled in New York. The following year, George Gershwin became a friend and suggested that he simplify his name. While he continued writing classical music under his original name, he was Vernon Duke when he wrote popular music.

In 1924 Duke wrote a ballet in Paris where he had some of his classical works performed. During the same period, he spent time in London writing numbers for musical comedies. Back in the U.S. after 1929, the next decade found Duke writing many hit songs including "April In Paris," "Autumn In New York," "What Is There To Say" and "I Can't Get Started." His writing for the 1940 Broadway musical "Cabin In The Sky" was a big success, resulting in several major songs including Taking A Chance On Love. In later years Vernon Duke continued writing both classical music and for Broadway shows. Since Duke's career peaked in the 1940s, when Dick Hyman explored his songs in 1952, it was the perfect time for a retrospective. Hyman throughout his career has displayed the ability to play in any jazz style and to interpret a remarkable range of music.

On this tribute set, Hyman's playing could be considered modern swing with touches of stride and a lot of melodic improvising. In addition to the hits already mentioned, Dick Hyman explores such numbers as "London In July," "I Am Only Human," "After All" and "The Love I Long For." His tasteful playing and his ability to bring out the beauty in every song must have pleased the composer, for this set is a definitive tribute to the popular music side of Vernon Duke. Dick Hyman, famous pianist, organist, arranger, and general jazz notable, is here presented in one of his earliest recordings. Hyman went on to play with Benny Goodman, Ruby Braff, Ralph Sutton, Marian McPartland, Doc Severinsen, Roy Eldridge, and many others.


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Cabin In The Sky What Is There To Say Now April In Paris London In July Autumn In New York Suddenly I Am Only Human After All Rio Cristal Taking A Chance On Love When You Live On An Island I Can't Get Started The Love I Long For I'm Gonna Ring The Bell Tonight

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Dick Hyman
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer Vernon Duke
Accompanist/ Conductor No


Customer Reviews (2)

"Masterful!"Review by Big Toots
Dick Hyman – Vernon Duke

In 1952, pianist Dick Hyman recorded three solo piano albums featuring the compositions of Kurt Weill, Noel Coward and Vernon Duke. Of those three composers, Duke had received the most public notoriety. His “I Can’t Get Started” recorded in 1937 by trumpeter Bunny Berigan was a major hit and it elevated Duke significantly up the ranks of great – and successful American composers. With Autumn in New York, Hyman pays and plays significant salute to Duke over 14 brilliantly performed selections.

Hyman’s style here can be best described as classically-tinged jazz with stride overtones. A player of awesome technical skill and a canyon-wide range of interpretive styles, Hyman also has the emotional playing gravitas to pull off performing these well-known selections in more of a traditional manner than heavily improvised. His presentation of “Cabin in the Sky” is almost Debussy-Impressionistic. It’s a gorgeous rendition, for sure. “April in Paris” is approached in a similar manner before Duke’s melody develops and engages. There a ton of rhythmic diversity here, too. Take “Now,” for example. Hyman’s Latin-like left hand sets up a neat Gershwin-esque performance. As a matter of listening fact, there’s a ton of Gershwin influence on both Duke’s writing and
Hyman’s approach to same. Duke had a thing for seasonal sounds, so we hear a Parisian April, a Julian London and the title tune, each of which is a tone-poem of elaborate – but- not overdone – technique. “Suddenly” is a stride-like hoot with Hyman’s hands spinning and spanning keys. It’s a highlight, for sure. Hyman’s “Taking a Chance on Love”’ left hand bass strolls as the right takes all the chances improvising both melodically and block-handed. “When You Live on an Island” has an exotic flair. And the title tune is embellished with spins and runs, as well as inventive interpretations of the melody.

While Vernon Duke’s big hit was about romantic efforts – or lack thereof – this album is indeed a superb marriage of pianist and composer, both brilliantly displaying their robust wares.

(Posted on 6/7/2015)
Autumn in New YorkReview by Simon Sez
In 1952, Dick Hyman who was at the beginning of his career, recorded three solo piano albums. The other two records had him playing mostly material by Kurt Weill and Noel Coward that has rarely been played by jazz musicians.

Vernon Duke is different because many of his songs became standards. Everyone has heard “April In Paris,’ “I Can’t Get Started” and “Autumn In New York.” As a bonus, Hyman also plays a few songs (including “London In July” and “The Love I Long For”) that probably no one has heard in a zilliion years. As always, Hyman does a great job of respecting the melodies while making the music swing.

Simon Sez: Dick Hyman’s Plays The Music Of Vernon Duke (Proscenium 04) plays both standards and lesser-known tunes by Duke as piano solos.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)

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