billy strayhorn

Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s Billy Strayhorn Tribute

The kid was a genius. Young Billy Strayhorn was the talk of the Pittsburgh jazz scene in the late 1930s, partly for his piano playing but mainly because he’d come out of Westinghouse High School writing and arranging music like a masterful pro. Duke Ellington hired him, sending him travel money to New York and directions for getting uptown to the bandleader’s apartment in Harlem. The directions began with “Take the A train …” And when Strayhorn showed up he

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