Billy Strayhorn
American musician
Billy Strayhorn
William Thomas "Billy" Strayhorn was an American composer, pianist and arranger, best known for his successful collaboration with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington lasting nearly three decades. His compositions include "Take the 'A' Train," "Chelsea Bridge," and "Lush Life."
Biography
Billy Strayhorn's personal information overview.
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BLOCK BY BLOCK | WEST 181ST STREET; On the Fringe, With Benefits
NYTimes - over 5 years
''HEY, look out!'' cried a man on the street as he grabbed an elderly woman from the path of a bicyclist whizzing down the steep slope of West 181st Street, toward Riverside Drive. The cyclist was gone in a flash, trailed by a few choice expletives from the pedestrians in his wake. No one was hurt, yet there was plenty of harrumphing on the
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NYTimes article
Jeffries, jazz's "Flamingo" man, to sit in with orchestra - North County Times
Google News - over 5 years
At least that's how Jeffries remembers the sequence of events involving the composer of "Flamingo," Ellington, arranger Billy Strayhorn and the vocalist. "All of us got lucky with that song. When you guessed I must have sung it a thousand times,
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Richard E. Aaron/Redferns - NPR (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
"There's characters presented, there's drama, there's suspense, there's tension, there's conflict — and that's his lyrical skill." A skill that King believes says puts Nick Ashford in the ranks of Ira Gershwin, Billy Strayhorn and Smoky Robinson
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Sir Roland Hanna, solo piano – Colors from a Giant's Kit – IPO Recordings - Audiophile Audition
Google News - over 5 years
Hanna brings five of his compositions to the proceedings alongside others by Duke Ellington, Illinois Jacquet, John Coltrane, Billy Strayhorn and a few more. The album opens with three Hanna originals. The brief title track has a sweeping style where
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Heath Brothers take a gentle approach to the art of bebop - Chicago Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
Billy Strayhorn's "Day Dream" proved more substantive a piece of music, and Heath turned to soprano saxophone to capture the ethereal quality of the piece. Even here, he moved things along briskly, his even-keel sensibility and dry-as-dust timbre
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Maine Jazz Septet Mines Little-Known Ellington and Strayhorn Gems - MPBN News
Google News - over 5 years
In Midcoast Maine, there's a group of musicians and jazz enthusiasts that's dedicated to the music of legendary bandleader Duke Ellington and his long-time associate, the composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn. In preparation for a series of upcoming
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Chicago Jazz Orchestra Ass. Appoints Travis Rosenthal As Executive Director - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Mr. Rosenthal replaces Alyce Claerbaut, who has assumed the presidency of Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc. Following an extensive search and review of over twenty candidates who applied for the position, the CJOA presented their new ED very enthusiastically
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Out in Berkeley: Phillip Greenlief's Lost Trio, and more - Berkeleyside
Google News - over 5 years
Launched about 17 years ago with bassist Dan Seamans and drummer Tom Hassett, the group brings the same gruff, unfussy eloquence to tunes by Hank Williams and Herbie Nichols, Billy Strayhorn and Nino Rota, Irving Berlin and Joni Mitchell,
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Novel Jazz fetes second CD - VillageSoup Belfast
Google News - over 5 years
The show will be dedicated to the great works of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, two pillars of the jazz world. Novel Jazz will play both well-known standards plus lesser-known compositions, recently transcribed from original scores at the
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A Museum of Queer History Pops Up In Soho - Queerty
Google News - over 5 years
Presented in conjunction with CUNY's Graduate Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, the exhibition runs August 6–25 and incorporates both artwork and artifacts touching on musician Billy Strayhorn, lesbian separatist enclaves,the Mattachine Society,
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ARTS | WESTCHESTER; Where Summertime Means Jazz
NYTimes - over 5 years
FOR jazz fans, the absence this summer of a festival in New York City produced by George Wein, who founded the Newport Jazz Festival and for many years staged sister events in the city, has been conspicuous. But the undiminished presence of the Caramoor and Litchfield jazz festivals -- both among the top-ticketed events in the metropolitan region
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NYTimes article
Argov takes the A Train - Jerusalem Post
Google News - over 5 years
Italian clarinetist Nico Gori returns to Israel this week to perform a program combining the jazz workings of Sasha Argov with the sounds of Duke Ellingon and Billy Strayhorn. At first glance it seems a bit of a stretch to equate the
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Syncopated Tap Rhythms Tattooed Onto the Floor - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
Rounding it out were the too-short glimpses of Cartier Williams, Michelle Dorrance (joined by the vocalist Aaron Marcellus in a homage to Billy Strayhorn) and Derrick K. Grant. Mr. Grant is a sophisticated artist who, like the Copasetics he was
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Modern-day tap dancers pay tribute Saturday night to some of New York's most ... - New York Daily News (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
... Emory Evans, Francis Goldberg, Frank Goldberg, Milton Larkin, LeRoy Myers, Pete Nugent, Luther Preston, Phace Roberts, Billy Strayhorn (the first president of the organization), John E. Thomas, James Walker, Elmer Waters and Eddie West
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Beyond Category: Maud Hixson and Lucia Newell Sing Ellington and Strayhorn ... - Jazz Police (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Duke Ellington on Billy Strayhorn “Beyond Category” was a phrase often used by Duke Ellington to describe others who most impressed him, but it was the Duke's legacy of compositions and arrangements that defied classification
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NYCB guide: 'Jewels' and other gems - The Saratogian
Google News - over 5 years
... best modern ballets, including this continuously engaging, intricate work for a full cast of 23. ä For the Love of Duke (Susan Stroman/Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn), July 9 Gala — Broadway choreographer Stroman's work has two episodes
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Midsummer's Night Dreams of Jazz at the Artists Quarter - Jazz Police
Google News - over 5 years
A few years ago, these two favorite songbirds (along with baritone Dennis Spears) brought the partnership of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn to the stage of the Bloomington Center for the Arts. Now they are reprising that popular revue,
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Billy Strayhorn
    FIFTIES
  • 1967
    Age 51
    Strayhorn finally succumbed in the early morning on May 31, 1967, in the company of his partner, Bill Grove, not in Lena Horne's arms as has often been falsely reported.
    More Details Hide Details By her own account, she was touring in Europe when she received the news of Strayhorn's death. His ashes were scattered in the Hudson River by a gathering of his closest friends. While in the hospital, he had submitted his final composition to Ellington. "Blood Count" was used as the third track to Ellington's memorial album for Strayhorn, …And His Mother Called Him Bill, which was recorded several months after Strayhorn's death. The last track of the album is a spontaneous solo version of "Lotus Blossom" performed by Ellington, who sat at the piano and played for his friend while the band (who can be heard in the background) packed up after the formal end of the recording session. Strayhorn's arrangements had a tremendous impact on the Ellington band. Ellington always wrote for the personnel he had at the time, showcasing both the personalities and sound of soloists such as Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Ben Webster, Lawrence Brown and Jimmy Blanton, and drawing on the contrasts between players or sections to create a new sound for his band. Strayhorn brought a more linear, classically schooled ear to Ellington’s works, setting down in permanent form the sound and structures that Ellington sought.
  • FORTIES
  • 1964
    Age 48
    Strayhorn was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1964, which eventually caused his death in 1967.
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  • 1963
    Age 47
    Strayhorn was openly gay. He participated in many civil rights causes. As a committed friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he arranged and conducted "King Fit the Battle of Alabama'" for the Ellington Orchestra in 1963 for the historical revue (and album) My People, dedicated to King.
    More Details Hide Details Strayhorn's strong character left an impression on many people who met him. He had a major influence on the career of Lena Horne, who wanted to marry Strayhorn and considered him to have been the love of her life. Strayhorn used his classical background to improve Horne's singing technique. They eventually recorded songs together. In the 1950s, Strayhorn left his musical partner Duke Ellington for a few years to pursue a solo career of his own. He came out with a few solo albums and revues for the Copasetics (a New York show-business society), and took on theater productions with his friend Luther Henderson.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1947
    Age 31
    Through Mercer, Strayhorn met his first partner, African-American musician Aaron Bridgers, with whom Strayhorn lived until Bridgers moved to Paris in 1947.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1939
    Age 23
    Shortly before going on his second European tour with his orchestra, from March to May 1939, Ellington announced to his sister Ruth and son Mercer Ellington that Strayhorn "is staying with us."
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  • 1938
    Age 22
    He met Duke Ellington in December 1938, after an Ellington performance in Pittsburgh (he had first seen Ellington play in Pittsburgh in 1933).
    More Details Hide Details Here he first told, and then showed, the band leader how he would have arranged one of Duke's own pieces. Ellington was impressed enough to invite other band members to hear Strayhorn. At the end of the visit, he arranged for Strayhorn to meet him when the band returned to New York. Strayhorn worked for Ellington for the next quarter century as an arranger, composer, occasional pianist and collaborator until his early death from cancer. As Ellington described him, "Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine." Strayhorn's relationship with Ellington was always difficult to pin down: Strayhorn was a gifted composer and arranger who seemed to flourish in Duke's shadow. Ellington was arguably a father figure and the band was affectionately protective of the diminutive, mild-mannered, unselfish Strayhorn, nicknamed by the band "Strays", "Weely", and "Swee' Pea". Ellington may have taken advantage of him, but not in the mercenary way that others had taken advantage of Ellington; instead, he used Strayhorn to complete his thoughts, while giving Strayhorn the freedom to write on his own and enjoy at least some of the credit he deserved. Though Duke Ellington took credit for much of Strayhorn’s work, he did not maliciously drown out his partner. Ellington would make jokes onstage like, "Strayhorn does a lot of the work but I get to take the bows!"
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1915
    Born
    Born on November 29, 1915.
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