In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: A Portrait of Duke Ellington. Northeastern University Press,
Early life[ edit ] Strayhorn was born in Dayton, Ohio. His family soon moved to the Homewood section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In an interview, Strayhorn said that his grandmother was his primary influence during the first ten years of his life.
He first became interested in music while living with her, playing hymns on her piano, and playing records on her Victrola record player. In Pittsburgh, he began his musical career, studying classical music for a time at the Pittsburgh Music Institute, writing a high school musical, forming a musical trio that played daily on a local radio station, and, while still in his teens, composing with lyrics the songs "Life Is Lonely" later renamed " Lush Life ""My Little Brown Book", and " Something to Live For ".
While still in grade school, he worked odd jobs to earn enough money to buy his first piano. While in high school, he played in the school band, and studied under the same teacher, Carl McVicker, who had also A portrait of duke ellington by jazz pianists Erroll Garner and Mary Lou Williams.
By age 19, he was writing for a professional musical, Fantastic Rhythm. Strayhorn was then introduced to the music of pianists like Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson at age These musicians guided him into the realm of jazz where he remained for the rest of his life.
His first jazz exposure was in a combo called the Mad Hatters that played around Pittsburgh. 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. 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.
Ellington would make jokes onstage like, "Strayhorn does a lot of the work but I get to take the bows! Personal life[ edit ] Shortly before going on his second European tour with his orchestra, from March to MayEllington announced to his sister Ruth and son Mercer Ellington that Strayhorn "is staying with us.
As a committed friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
He had a major influence on the career of Lena Hornewho wanted to marry Strayhorn and considered him to have been the love of her life. They eventually recorded songs together. In the s, Strayhorn left his musical partner Duke Ellington for a few years to pursue a solo career of his own.
He released a few solo albums and revues for the Copasetics a New York show-business societyand took on theater productions with his friend Luther Henderson. Illness and death[ edit ] Strayhorn was diagnosed with esophageal cancer inwhich eventually caused his death in 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.
Ellington always wrote for the personnel he had at the time, showcasing both the personalities and sound of soloists such as Johnny HodgesHarry CarneyBen WebsterLawrence Brown and Jimmy Blantonand drawing on the contrasts between players or sections to create a new sound for his band.
It is a community-based performing arts theater. In Strayhorn was inducted into the Legacy Walk.A major new biography of Duke Ellington from the acclaimed author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century—and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand.
Learn more about Event Calendar. Smithsonian Theaters. Featuring IMAX®, state-of-the-art 35mm film presentations, and the Einstein Planetarium. 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.
Sorry this is late – just been working on Monday’s Jazz Now broadcast with Dave Douglas JRR DISC 1. Artist Theo Croker. Portraits of Duke Ellington is an album by jazz guitarist Joe Pass that was released in It peaked at number 37 on the Jazz Albums chart.
It peaked at number 37 on the Jazz Albums chart. It is a tribute to jazz musician Duke Ellington and . JRR DISC 1. Artist Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Title Duke’s Place. Composer Ellington / Katz / Thiele.