The Billy Strayhorn Centennial

Dec 11, 2015

Billy Strayhorn at the piano

The second episode of our Billy Strayhorn centennial birthday celebration focuses on his masterpiece 'Lush Life'.

Over the years, this composition has been recorded hundreds of times by instrumentalists and vocalists.  Strayhorn began writing this in high school and worked on it sporadically over the course of five years.  The lyrics are sophisticated, poetic, introspective and speak of a life lived by someone much older.  Strayhorn, in some way, was foreshadowing the life he would eventually lead.  This episode will feature many recordings of 'Lush Life' including Nat King Cole, Johnny Hartman, John Coltrane and Billy Strayhorn himself. 

The third episode will feature many of Strayhorn's later works, including selected suites composed with Duke Ellington.  You can hear the first episode below.

Music in this episode:

1.      Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from John Coltrane Lush Life

2.      Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from Duke Ellington Live at Carnegie Hall 1948

3.      Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from Phineas Newborn A World of Piano

4.      Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from Nat King Cole with Pete Rugolo Orchestra

 5.      Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

6.      Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from Nancy Wilson Lush Life

7.      Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from Ella Fitzgerald The Complete Ella Fitzgerald Songbook

8.      Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from Sarah Vaughan featuring Hal Mooney and His Studio Orchestra

9.      Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from The Chet Baker Quartet

10.     Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn) from Billy Strayhorn Lush Life