Billy Strayhorn

William " Billy" Strayhorn ( born November 29, 1915 in Dayton, Ohio, † May 31, 1967 in New York ) was an American jazz musician.

Billy Strayhorn worked from 1939 until his death as a member, arranger and composer Duke Ellington's orchestra. Strayhorn had a classical education and played piano. He enriched the jazz to instrumental arrangements, as they were found in their sophistication hitherto rarely in jazz. He is considered one of the most significant arrangers in jazz at all.

Ellington and Strayhorn established a lifelong, intimate friendship. Occasionally took Strayhorn in recordings even Ellington Part of the pianist. Famous are also the duets Strayhorn and Ellington on piano. Tonk example is a fun, modern and very dynamic piece, which both have often played.

Strayhorn was a major influence on the sound of the Ellington orchestra. That way the composition, lyrics and arrangement of the famous piece and the signature tune of the orchestra Take the A -Train is not - as is often wrongly assumed - of Ellington, but by Strayhorn. Other well-known compositions are Strayhorn's Chelsea Bridge and Lush Life. He was occasionally heard as a pianist at Ellington ( Blues in Orbit ) and also released several records under his own name. Immediately after his death, the Duke Ellington Orchestra recorded the tribute album ... And His Mother Called Him Bill. It contains Strayhorn's final composition, " Blood Count " in the moving interpretation by Johnny Hodges.

Little is known that Billy Strayhorn was openly gay. However, he joined - in a time and in this respect intolerant environment - personally hardly in the spotlight, but remained mostly in the shadow of Duke Ellington. In 1968, a year after his death, was honored for his services to the music of Billy Strayhorn the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences ( NARAS ) Grammy Trustees Award.

Pictures of Billy Strayhorn