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The Music of Billy Strayhorn
The Music of Billy Strayhorn Billy Strayhorn was an extravagantly gifted composer, arranger and pianist, in fact some considered him a genius. A musical prodigy who began his career as a composer while still a teenager in Pittsburgh, Strayhorn came to New York City at Duke Ellington's invitation in 1939; soon afterward he wrote 'Take the 'A' Train,' which became the signature song of the Ellington Orchestra. Strayhorn made collaboration an art form; he combined with Duke Ellington on more than 200 numbers in the orchestra's book.

Yet among Jazz listeners, Strayhorn is renowned for acknowledged classics like 'Lotus Blossom,' 'Lush Life,' and 'Chelsea Bridge.' While tailored for the Ellington idiom, Strayhorn's pieces often have their own bittersweet flavor, and his larger works have coherent, classically influenced designs quite apart from those of Ellington.

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