Another Brother Who Made It Happen
Padlock IconThis article is only a portion of the full article. If you are already a premium subscriber please login. If you are not a premium subscriber, please subscribe for access to all of our content.


Billy Strayhorn and Midcentury Jazz Collaboration
by Lisa Barg
Wesleyan Univ. Press. 288 pages, $24.95

BILLY STRAYHORN (1915–1967) was a mid-20th-century jazz pianist, arranger, and composer who toiled for three decades under the long shadow of Duke Ellington. The two men met in 1939, and Ellington immediately hired Strayhorn as second piano and arranger for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. In that capacity, Strayhorn also composed many of the jazz standards associated primarily with Ellington: “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Johnny Come Lately,” “Chelsea Bridge,” “Something to Live For,” “Lush Life,” and more. He composed major sections of the song suites attributed to Ellington, such as “Black, Brown and Beige” and their resetting of “The Nutcracker Suite.” He also made groundbreaking vocal arrangements for Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Rosemary Clooney, Billy Eckstine, and other jazz singers of the ‘40s, ‘50s, and early ‘60s.

To continue reading this article, please LOGIN or SUBSCRIBE

Hank Trout is the former editor of A&U: America’s AIDS Magazine.