The artistic collaboration between Duke Ellington and composer/ arranger (and Pittsburgher) Billy Strayhorn is one of the most important in the history of American music. Hear about it during Black History Month and the Pittsburgh Jazz Days of Winter - Thursday at noon and 6pm, and Sunday night at 5 on WZUM.
Duke Ellington trusted Pittsburgh’s Billy Strayhorn’s artistic gifts from the moment he joined the band in 1939, until Strayhorn’s death in 1967. Strayhorn wrote many of the songs we associate with the Duke Ellington Band today, including their theme song “Take the A Train”, “Satin Doll”, “Something to Live For” and many more.
Duke, said of Strayhorn, possessed “..Tonal supremacy… A mantle which he wore only with total grace…”.
Hosted by author Stanley Crouch and produced by Jim Luce, The Magic of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn is a thoughtful musical expose into the life and genius of Billy Strayhorn. Throughout his work with the Ellington band, Strayhorn preferred to remain in the background. He found creative freedom and total acceptance with Duke Ellington, but shunned the limelight, in part, because he was a gay black man living in an era in which acceptance was not the norm.
A celebration of Billy Strayhorn and his profound impact on the Duke Ellington sound, a collaboration that brought the world so much beautiful music. Presented thanks to the African American Public Radio Consortium Network.