Billy Strayhorn helped create the world known as “Ellingtonia,” but his music was a world of its own. “Strayhorn in the Foreground” featured his suave, subtle, and surprisingly modern compositions for jazz orchestra. The concert was presented by Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies at Miller Theatre on Thursday, November 21, 2013.
This excerpt presents four Strayhorn pieces: “All Day Long,” a little known, very challenging Strayhorn number; the moving “Blood Count,” written when Strayhorn was in his last illness; “Take The A Train,” his most famous composition taken from a startling new vantage point; and “Pentonsilic,” the American premiere of a virtually unknown Strayhorn arrangement.
The Billy Strayhorn Orchestra has presented the composer’s works for big band for more than ten years at major venues in the New York area, including St. Peter’s Church, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Winter Garden. Alto saxophonist Michael Hashim has frequently performed and recorded music associated with Duke Ellington and, particularly, Billy Strayhorn. Researcher and educator Walter Van de Leur, worked for many years to create the orchestrations of the songs heard here using manuscripts written in Strayhorn’s own hand. We also thank the Strayhorn Family and Estate for their kind support.
Concert performers are as follows: