Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn jazz article by Joel Roberts, published on March 8, at All About Jazz. Find more Book Reviews. Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn. Billy Strayhorn () was one of the greatest composers in the history of American music, the creator of a body of . Billy Strayhorn Strayhorn was a teenager when he wrote most of the song, which was to become his signature Nat King Cole performed “Lush Life” in , while trumpeter Harry James recorded it four times.

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David Hajdu – Lush Life

Billy Strayhorn wanted to be a classical composer, but that career path wasn’t open for a black kid in the 30s. Highly recommend this book to lovers of jazz and Ellington and Strayhorn fans in particular. I don’t want the prose to hold me at arm’s length- ‘who’ ‘what’ ‘when’ ‘where’, etc Third, and most of all, the narrative is drenched in period detail.

A “definitive” corrective USA Today to decades of patchwork scholarship and journalism about this giant of jazz, Lush Life is a vibrant and absorbing account of the “lush life” Strayhorn and other jazz musicians led in Harlem and Paris.

My mind just boggled coming This book chronicles what has to be the most unique and intricate collaboration in the history of music: If you shop at any of the stores below, please initiate your purchase from All About Jazz.

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The sheer idiocy of racial discrimination ,ife striking. World of Books Ltd Condition: Billy Strayhorn played the piano so gentle and smooth and the Danish jazz violinist Svend Asmussen plucked the strings throughout. A good idea done right. Lush Life is an extraordinary portrait of a most unique man, time, and place – that rare biography that not only illuminates a life, but evokes an era with such specificity that we can almost taste the gin and the genius that fueled it.

I prefer strathorn biographies use some poetic license in the prose- not to make stuff up for god’s sake but to give me some investigative prose.

Better World Books Ltd Condition: Hajdu who is now a music blogger at The New Republic online does an excellent job of managing the difference between Ellington’s majestic, tactful patriarchy with Strayhorn’s muted, devoted and some what biterly overshadowed status in their working relationship.

What caught me about it was Strayhorn’s ten mile dtrayhorn on the book cover.

What I will most remember about Billy Strayhorn is that he brought out the best in others. Review our musician toolkit page. Read on to view our project ideas Farrar, Straus, Giroux, Jazz fans, lovers of Ellington’s music. On top of this, Strayhorn was not only gay, but openly gay; but unlike skin colour, sexual orientation is something that 50s society can assiduously ignore as long as you stay out of the limelight and don’t kick up a fuss.

Like, a waitress would wait on us, and she’d walk away, and Strayhorn would say, ‘She’s great! I read in the mornings now, when my brain–and focus–is clearer. Get Jazz Near You A weekly events guide.

Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Email address It will remain private. A close friend to Lena Horne, Johnny Hodges who he also wrote for and played with, Strayhorn was loved by so many in the jazz world.


Hajdu’s Billy Strayhorn biography is not just the seminal work on Strayhorn, and not just one of the great jazz biographies of all time; it is also, as far as I am aware, the best, most insightful tome on Duke Ellington.

Meditating on a Riff by Steve Provizer Published: Aug 07, Yvonne rated it really liked it. Sign In Register Help Cart.

LUSH LIFE: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn by David Hajdu | Kirkus Reviews

Hajdu gets deeply felt and non-mythologizing input from important members of Strayhorn’s protective circle, including ex-lovers and close friends Lena Horne’s reminiscences are extraordinarily moving.

This book is the result of an incredible amount of research and interviews, and fills in the many blanks about Strayhorn’s mysterious life story. Nov 08, Ethan Swanson rated it it was amazing. But, as Hajdu points out, he was a “”triple minority””: He was first and foremost a genius at arranging music, bilgraphy different genres and stfayhorn into accessible and loved pieces.

A Biography of Billy Strayhorn,” David Hajdu goes a long way towards remedying this historical oversight by focusing long overdue attention on this shy, modest man who always shunned the spotlight during his lifetime. Farrar Straus Giroux, Having been a heavy drinker and smoker he died biograpjy from esophogeal cancer.