Watch Lush Life: Celebrating Billy Strayhorn

Watch Lush Life: Celebrating Billy Strayhorn

Jazz at Lincoln Center

Legend has it that Billy Strayhorn (1915-1967) wrote one of the icons of the American songbook, “Lush Life,” at the tender age of 16. Though this early date has been disputed by some scholars, what isn’t in question is that Duke Ellington's first recordings of Strayhorn’s work were published when Strayhorn was only 23 years old. In this centenary year of Billy Strayhorn’s birth, it’s fitting that the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis concludes our 2015-16 season by celebrating his life and career with additional music direction by JLCO pianist Dan Nimmer. As Duke Ellington’s key collaborator — and in his own right — Strayhorn is one of jazz music’s seminal yet often under-recognized composers, author of bellwethers like “Take the A Train.” For this celebratory tribute, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will be joined by renowned pianist (and vocalist) Johnny O’Neal, who fulfills a long-held desire to perform with us. Throughout his career, O’Neal worked regularly with Clark Terry, Ray Brown, Art Blakey, and many others. Of O’Neal, piano legend Barry Harris, who mentored him in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s once said: “He’s a very special cat. If ever somebody sounded like Art Tatum, it’s him. He’s got it all.”

Tags: jazz, lush life, billy strayhorn

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