Lush Life

Lush Life

A Biography of Billy Strayhorn

Book - 1997
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A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

Billy Strayhorn (1915-67) was one of the greatest composers in the history of American music, the creator of a body of work that includes such standards as "Take the 'A' Train." Yet all his life Strayhorn was overshadowed by his friend and collaborator Duke Ellington, with whom he worked for three decades as the Ellington Orchestra's ace songwriter and arranger. A "definitive" corrective ( USA Today ) to decades of patchwork scholarship and journalism about this giant of jazz, David Hajdu's Lush Life is a vibrant and absorbing account of the "lush life" that Strayhorn and other jazz musicians led in Harlem and Paris. While composing some of the most gorgeous American music of the twentieth century, Strayhorn labored under a complex agreement whereby Ellington took the bows for his work. Until his life was tragically cut short by cancer and alcohol abuse, the small, shy composer carried himself with singular style and grace as one of the few jazzmen to be openly homosexual. Lush Life has sparked an enthusiastic revival of interest in Strayhorn's work and is already acknowledged as a jazz classic.

Publisher: New York : North Point Press, 1997, c1996
Edition: 1st North Point pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780865475120
Call Number: 780.2 St826h 1997
Characteristics: xii, 307 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Biography of Billy Strayhorn


From Library Staff

Strayhorn was a brilliant composer whose works were often attributed to Duke Ellington, with whom he collaborated over a 25 year period. Ellingtonpaid all of Strayhorn's expenses in exchange. Strayhorn seemingly preferred to let Ellington have the glory, so that he could live an openly gay life.

From the critics

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