salute: Billy Strayhorn


Billy Strayhorn (aka Swee Pea) was one of Jazz’s most cherished composers. Scooped up by Duke Ellington at a very young age, Strayhorn was destined for greatness. Composing memorable songs such as Something To Live For, Take The A Train and Lush Life… he was truly one of a kind. Duke Ellington once said…

“….Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine.”

Some even said the merging of both Strayhorn and Ellington’s music was so seamless, because Strayhorn knew Ellingtons style s well, it was almost uncanny.  He was very passionate, very talkative and very smart. He was openly gay in a time when it could have cost him quite a bit. His dear friend and “soul mate” Lena Horne once said of him…. ” When I looked at Billy I knew I was looking at someone smarter then I. With him my guard started loosening, with him I forgot my lonliness…he was the only person I wanted to be with all the time.I learned from him. He was gentle and loving and brilliant….he was the only man I ever loved.”

A salute to Billy Strayhorn…. one of a kind!

Billy Strayhorn/ Duke Ellington

 

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