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Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn

David Hajdu
Paperback: 305 pages
North Point Press
June 1, 1997
ISBN: 0865475121
David Hajdu’s intimate portrait of Billy Strayhorn will make you fall in love with this gentle man who overcame great adversity to become one of America’s finest composers. His complicated relationship with Duke Ellington is thoroughly examined, and Strayhorn’s own complex personality comes through very clearly. This very readable biography also contains a wealth of musical information.

For jazz standards readers and researchers this is one of the two top books on Billy Strayhorn, composer and arranger for Duke Ellington. The other is Something to Live for: The Music of Billy Strayhorn. The latter focuses more on his music and less on his life and times. Strayhorn’s contributions as composer or co-composer of the jazz standards include “Take the A Train,” “Lush Life,” “Chelsea Bridge,” “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing,” “Passion Flower,” “Raincheck,” “Upper Manhattan Medical Group (UMMG),” “Blood Count,” “Johnny Come Lately,” “Lotus Blossom,” “Something To Live For,” “Love You Madly,” “Isfahan,” “Star Crossed Lovers,” “Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’,” “Day Dream,” and “Satin Doll.” The general index includes listings of song titles.

David Hajdu teaches at the New School in New York City and has written about music for The New Yorker and The New York Times. He is also the author of Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina, and Richard Farina.

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The JazzStandards.com bookstore provides you with a catalog of 200 books associated with the jazz standards. Organized by category, each entry has an editorial comment to aid you in your research and guide you in your recreational reading.


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