April in Paris (song)

"April in Paris" is a popular song composed by Vernon Duke with lyrics by Yip Harburg in 1932 for the Broadway musical Walk a Little Faster. The original 1933 hit was performed by Freddy Martin, and the 1952 remake (inspired by the movie of the same name) was by the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, whose version made the Cashbox Top 50.

"April in Paris"
Composer(s)Vernon Duke
Lyricist(s)E.Y. Harburg

Composer Alec Wilder writes, "There are no two ways about it: this is a perfect theater song. If that sounds too reverent, then I'll reduce the praise to 'perfectly wonderful,' or else say that if it's not perfect, show me why it isn't."[2]

Freddy Martin and Henry King had the earliest hits of this song, at the very end of 1933.[3]

It has been performed by many artists, including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Billy Eckstine, Bill Evans, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Frank Sinatra, Mary Kaye Trio, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Erroll Garner, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Benny Goodman, Dinah Shore, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Joni James, Blossom Dearie, Doris Day, Alex Chilton, Wynton Marsalis, Andy Williams, Michel Legrand, and Dawn Upshaw. Basie's 1955 recording is the most famous, and that particular performance was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[4] On this recording, trumpeter Thad Jones played his famous "Pop Goes the Weasel" solo, trombonist Benny Powell performed his much noted bridge,[5] and Basie directs the band to play the short chorus "one more time" and then "one more once."

According to the niece of Matteo Boccino, "April in Paris" was composed on a 1931 Mathushek baby grand piano located in Boccino's 54th Street rehearsal hall as Walk a Little Faster prepared for its Broadway debut. During rehearsal, Duke concluded another song was needed and it was composed on the spot. Boccino's rehearsal studio was among dozens of buildings demolished in 1964 to make space for the still standing New York Hilton Hotel. The 1931 Mathushek baby grand is now owned by Michael Adams of Montville, New Jersey and many pianists have even recently played "April in Paris" on the very piano on which it was composed.

The song is also featured in the film Blazing Saddles from 1974, being played by Count Basie in a cameo appearance. Basie's recording is also featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, on the fictional jazz radio station JNR 108.5.

See also


  • Ted Gioia The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire Oxford University Press; Oxford 2012; ISBN 978-0199937394


  1. Scott DeVeaux (Autumn, 1999). "'Nice Work if You Can Get It'- Thelonious Monk and Popular Song", p.179, Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 19, No. 2, New Perspectives on Thelonious Monk.
  2. Wilder, Alec (1972). American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 357. ISBN 0-19-501445-6.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 472. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  4. Count Basie - April in Paris - Verve Records
  5. http://www.trombone-usa.com/powell_benny_bio.htm,

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