Celebrate the Billy Strayhorn Centennial

Dec 9, 2015

Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn

"Jazz Currents" celebrates the birthday centennial of the multi-talented Billy Strayhorn.    

Episode one will focus on Strayhorn's upbringing and early years with Ellington.  During this time, Strayhorn wrote many tunes for the Ellington orchestra including 'Something to Live For', 'Take the A Train' and 'Chelsea Bridge.' 

Episode two will focus on Strayhorn's masterpiece 'Lush Life', including some of the definitive recordings by Nat King Cole, John Coltrane, Johnny Hartman and Strayhorn himself. 

Episode three will feature many of the larger works Strayhorn composed and arranged with Duke Ellington, including many of his well-known suites. 

 Strayhorn was born in 1915 in Dayton, Ohio but grew up around Pittsburgh, PA.  Billy began playing piano and composing music and lyrics early in his teen years and eventually met the great Duke Ellington.  He began working with Ellington in 1938 and remained his musical partner for close to 30 years.  Strayhorn died in 1967 at the age of fifty-one after a long struggle with cancer of the esophagus.  Over the years, Billy Strayhorn, made an immeasurable impact on the music of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and contributed some of the most important songs to the jazz repertoire.

Music in this episode:

1.  Take the A Train-(Billy Strayhorn) featuring Milt Grayson from Duke Ellington's The Great London Concerts

2.  In a Mellow Tone-(Duke Ellington) from Duke Ellington's Sir Duke

3.  Something to Live For--(Billy Strayhorn) featuring Jean Eldridge from Duke Ellington's Duke Ellington Plays Billy Strayhorn

4.  Something to Live For--(Billy Strayhorn)  featuring Ozzie Bailey from Billy Strayhorn's Firestarter

5.  Something to Live For--(Billy Strayhorn) from Ella Fitzgerald's Ella at Duke's Place

6.  Take the A Train--(Billy Strayhorn)  Duke Ellington from Duke Ellington's Duke Ellington Plays Billy Strayhorn

7.  Take the A Train--(Billy Strayhorn)  Duet from Duke Ellington's Great Times Piano Duets with Billy Strayhorn

8.  Take the A Train--(Billy Strayhorn) from Ella Fitzgerald's Ella at Duke's Place

9.  Chelsea Bridge--(Billy Strayhorn) from Duke Ellington's Duke Ellington Plays Billy Strayhorn

10.  Johnny Come Lately--(Billy Strayhorn) from Duke Ellington's Duke Ellington Plays Billy Strayhorn