ALL POSTS TAGGED "billy-strayhorn"

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On Nov. 29th, composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn – who died in 1967 at age 51 – would have celebrated his 100th birthday. In his keep reading »

When Duke Ellington connected with John Coltrane we were given what the philosopher Camus described as the most meaningful of relationships—that which is both short-lived and exceptional. Clocking in at just over thirty-five minutes, Duke Ellington & John Coltrane is a stolen moment from the songbook of music’s most important figures. Engaging the work is simple, by choice.

During this period, Coltrane was incontrovertibly brilliant in his work as both arranger and composer. But, in a career trajectory that took the divergent road less traveled, this might have been its most remarkable deviation. At no other point during his time as a bandleader, did Coltrane record with a vocalist. It’s been said that some get it right the first time. As much as I would like to dispute this claim, I can’t help but think of Coltrane and Hartman.

When people think of the rich artistic tradition of Pittsburgh many individuals may come to mind. Often, it is pianist Ahmad Jamal, whose simplistic, yet effective piano strokes found a home in hip-hop sampling. Perhaps they think of the iconic playwright August Wilson, whose works transcended racial barriers to receive worldwide acclaim. Presently, many, if not most recognize the city through the thematic chanting of “Black and Yellow” brought to us by the city’s up-and-coming rap presence, Wiz Khalifa. But when I reminisce over a city I call my own, I remember Billy Strayhorn.

Those in attendance at the most recent installment of Jazz at Lincoln Center got something special Friday night. It took until the third tune of keep reading »