Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life

Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life

Billy Strayhorn


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Billy Strayhorn's genius was hidden in plain sight. As Duke Ellington's trusted aide-de-camp, Strayhorn contributed compositions and arrangements -- both individually and in collaboration with the bandleader -- and occasionally played piano for the Ellington band from 1939 to 1967, when Strayhorn died. His behind-the-scenes career is examined in a PBS documentary, Lush Life, to which this album provides part of the soundtrack. In order to demonstrate the durability of Strayhorn's work, contemporary jazz artists interpret some of his most famous songs, including "Johnny Come Lately," "Rain Check," "Chelsea Bridge," and "Lotus Blossom," as well as a few worthy obscurities. The inspired playing of such heavyweights as pianists Hank Jones and Bill Charlap, saxophonist Joe Lovano, drummer Paul Motian, guitarists Russell Malone and Rodney Jones, and others is obvious proof of their adoration for "Stray" 's genius. Dianne Reeves also adds her distinctive vocal artistry to the poignant title cut, while Elvis Costello sings his own lyrics to Strayhorn's affecting instrumental "Blood Count." The music of Lush Life may only scratch the surface of Strayhorn's vast legacy, but it still scores as a smart and swinging tribute that should bring more attention to this underappreciated giant.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/23/2007
Label: Blue Note Records
UPC: 0724387355026
catalogNumber: 73550
Rank: 137040

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elvis Costello   Vocals
Hank Jones   Piano
Rodney Jones   Guitar
Joe Lovano   Tenor Saxophone
Russell Malone   Guitar
Bill Charlap   Piano
Gregory Hutchinson   Drums
Paul Motian   Drums
George Mraz   Bass
Dianne Reeves   Vocals
Reuben Rogers   Bass
Peter Martin   Piano

Technical Credits

Elvis Costello   Composer
Dae Bennett   Engineer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
LaTouché   Composer
Burt Goldblatt   Cover Photo
Joshua Blum   Producer
Roberto Levi   Producer,Liner Notes
Burton Yount   Art Direction
George Seminara   Producer

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