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Outbeat Jazz Festival 2014

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Outbeat Jazz Festival Philadelphia, PA September 18-21, 2014 The Outbeat Jazz Festival, touted as “America's First Queer Jazz Festival," where the “Q-word" has become an “in" word, proved to be an innovative event that brought the public's attention to the important role of gay (LGBT) jazz musicians and composers. A series of concerts and discussions drove the point home. It was no accident that the festival was held at venues in and around Center City, jny: Philadelphia, the locus of one of the most thriving and activist gay communities in the world. Sponsored by the ...


Billy Strayhorn: Out Of The Shadows

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An elaborate box set from the Danish Storyville label: seven CDs and one DVD, paying tribute to Duke Ellington's arranger and composer Billy Strayhorn that--alas--doesn't quite live up to the ambitions of it's makers. Ask yourself, was Strayhorn truly the shadowy figure implied by the title? While the bulk of his work was achieved out of the public eye, Billy Strayhorn was no shrinking violet. He “subbed" for Ellington on piano with the band and played on record dates with various constellations of Ellington sidemen throughout the 1950s, most prominently as leader of the ...


Billy Strayhorn: Piano Passion

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During their nearly three decades of working together, Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington created a legacy of music for the ages. This set offers a rare opportunity to hear Strayhorn the composer playing many of his own songs, as well as some he wrote with Ellington and others. Their partnership began in 1939 and ended only with the death of “Swee' Pea," as Strayhorn came to be fondly called by Ellington, at a mere 52 from cancer in 1967. The first ten cuts in this collection, recorded in Paris during two midnight sessions in 1961, were originally ...


Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn

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by David Hajdu Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1996 0-374-19438-6

The young pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn was introduced to Duke Ellington, already a major international star and leader of one of the world's most popular bands, for the first time backstage at an Ellington Orchestra performance at the Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh in December 1938. After a brief audition, which consisted of Strayhorn playing a few of his own compositions as well as interpretations of Ellington numbers, Duke hired him on the spot - even though there was no specific role for him in the band, ...


Billy Strayhorn: The Peaceful Side of Billy Strayhorn

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During his twenty-five year tenure with the Duke Ellington Orchestra as composer, lyricist, arranger, and Duke's closest musical confidante, Billy Strayhorn rarely performed in front of a live audience and even less frequently entered a recording studio. Although his piano playing can be heard on a handful of records with the Ellington Orchestra as well as on some of its members' side projects, most notably several dates with Johnny Hodges, Strayhorn made just one album as a featured solo artist. That album, the Peaceful Side of Billy Strayhorn recorded during two overnight sessions in Paris in January 1961, ...

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