Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Lush Life: Strayhorn Songbook
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
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Member CD Reviews
Sally T. from TORRANCE, CA
Reviewed on 3/23/2007...
15 great Strayhorn tunes by various A-list artists.
Ellington Collaborator Steps Into Spotlight On Verve Tribute
Anthony G Pizza | FL | 01/31/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ken Burns' recent, exhaustive jazz TV history has thrilled and rankled fans wondering why their favorite star was slighted in this once-in-a-lifetime national forum. But for all Burns' controversial story choices, he consistently spotlighted managers, talent agents, sidemen and other benefactors beside and behind the bandtstand who strengthened seminal jazz figures, deepening the music's popularity, quality and even spirituality.When Burns spotlighted Duke Ellington's longtime musical collaborator Billy Strayhorn, he completed what magazine editor David Hajdu began in 1996. Hadju wrote a Strayhorn biography and compiled an all-star jazz songbook tribute, both titled "Lush Life." Here, Norman Granz's Verve constellation (Sassy, Dizzy, Oscar Peterson, longtime Strayhorn collaborators Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Billy Eckstine and, of course, Ellington with Ella Fitzgerald) helps re-establish Strayhorn as a talented collaborator, player, and composer in his own right. If nothing else, you'll learn American standards like "Take The 'A' Train" and "Satin Doll" were not solely Ellington inventions.Strayhorn's urbane, elegant melodies tuck into be-bop (Gillespie's scatting "UMMG," Joe Henderson's "Isfahan" from 1990's all-Strayhorn album) lush balladry (Eckstine's rococco croon on "Satin Doll," Sarah Vaughn's swooping rendition of the nihilistic title cut), contemplative soloing (Peterson's "After All," a gentle Stan Getz on 1986's live "Blood Count"), exotic swing (Louis Bellson's "Far Eastern Weekend" with Doc Sevrinsen off Strayhorn's arrangement) and hard big-band bop (1960's all-star, nine-minute jam "Take The A Train" features screeching Roy Eldridge trumpet and furious Philly Jo Jones drums). Even in these disparate settings, Strayhorn managed to paste the structures of classical, Gershwin orchestral, and even vintage film score music to the rhythm and chord changes of the blues. Strayhorn thus achieved through arrangement what Frank Sinatra (who unsuccessfully tried to hire Strayhorn) and Nelson Riddle achieved through song styling on spectacular albums like "Only The Lonely": dignified, contemplative song statements on unrequited love by one forced to hold his personal life (and thus, career) secret.What amazes is, as Burns' documentary noted, that Strayhorn (and, by extension, Ellington) wrote and arranged these timeless songs for specific players in that 1940s band. Yet, as Art Farmer (who appears with Oliver Nelson on "Rain Check") states in the liner notes, "The wonderful thing about all of Strayhorn's music is that it's timeless. It sounds like it always existed - and like it's brand new." Hearing Strayhorn's songs cohesively on "Lush Life," with mentor and benefactor Ellington only among the contributors, refreshes these beloved jazz compositions and makes this set a welcome rediscovery in any "Songbook" collection. Recommended."
In the presence of royalty
Anthony G Pizza | 07/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are few musicians in popular music who can really wear the mantle of "genius," bur Billy Strayhorn is one among them. This fantastic showcase of his talents as a composer, arranger and performer is a gem from start to finish. Whether it's hearing Sarah Vaughan's passionate reading of "Lush Life," smiling at Billy Eckstine's bonhomie on "Satin Doll" or being swept along with "Take The 'A' Train" as done by the Jazz At The Philharmonic All-Stars, Strayhorn shines resplendent. Get this album!"