Autumn leaves is a 1945 song composed by French musician Joseph Kosma. The original lyrics are in French, written by Kosma but in 1947 Johnny Mercer wrote the English ones. Since that time it has become a very popular song and surely one of the most played jazz standards.
This song is in a AABC form (32 bars), very much appreciated by beginners because the harmonic progression is pretty simple to play and easy to understand. It covers a very important chord sequence found in jazz, the ii-V-I both in minor and major.
A“standard” or “jazz standard” is referring to a popular music piece and/or jazz music composition that is held in continuing esteem and is frequently used in musical repertoire.
Many of these “jazz standards” were not necessarily originally jazz compositions. Music publishers include the term “jazz standards” in a description or a title they nearly always are referring to compositions used as the basis for improvisation or jazz arrangements.
You will find in this post a non-exhaustive list of jazz standards and their original keys to practice at home or in jam sessions.