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Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life

"Chelsea Bridge", "Lotus Blossom", "Take The A Train," "Day Dream" - these songs everyone knows about jazz and most connect with the standards one of the greats of jazz: Duke Ellington. But what few know these classics are written by the pianist, composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn, about the Duke once said: "Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, my third eye - my thoughts passed through his head and through my. " Ellington's alter ego, born in 1915 in Dayton, Ohio and comprising classically trained musician, which a career in classical music was denied because of his skin color was so heavily involved for nearly 30 years at the sound of the Ellington orchestra that even experts had difficulty to distinguish between what was and what composes the Duke of Billy "Sweet Pea" Strayhorn.

"Lush Life," one of the most popular songs of Billy Strayhorn, is also the title of a 90-minute long documentary about the life and work of the pioneering musician, considered one of the most important arrangers of jazz ever true today. The film, which will be broadcast in early February in the US nationally televised, illuminated Strayhorn's complex relationship with Duke Ellington and explores the question of why he never attention was to part that he deserved without question considering his talent.

The exquisite soundtrack to the documentation "Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life", which now appears on blue Note, contains 15 of the most beautiful compositions by Billy Strayhorn, sensitive and respectful, however idiosyncratic and inspiring interpreted by some of the most important jazz musicians of our time, including the Blue -Note actors Bill Charlap, Joe Lovano and the four-time Grammy winner Dianne Reeves, who plays a prominent role in the film. Also attended: Piano legend Hank Jones, who already accompanied Coleman Hawkins and Ella Fitzgerald in the 40s, and known for its openness and experimentation British pop musician Elvis Costello.

During his 29 years long-term collaboration with Duke Ellington Billy Strayhorn created a large number of compositions, which then as now rarely find their originality and stylistic diversity of jazz. Among these highly public appeal songs were just as sophisticated jazz creations, opulent orchestral suites and ambitious scores for theater and film. Already the opening track of "Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life", "Fantastic Rhythm", which had the then wrote 19-year-old in 1934 for a musical and that is to enjoy here in an exuberant joy of playing solo piano adaptation of Bill Charlap strongly as evidenced alive and timeless Billy Strayhorn's music has remained until today.

The same applies to the 14 subsequent, impressive dynamic and versatile sounding recordings. Bill Charlap shines with "Valse", another solo piano piece from the early career of this exceptional musician. In top form it presents itself and in conjunction with the legendary pianist Hank Jones on "Tonk", which was played in the original by Strayhorn and Ellington Four Hands. Jones, who is now 88 years old, nevertheless still glides like a young wild with nimble fingers over the keys, provides a sensitive solo rendition of "Satin Doll" and also shines on the side of Joe Lovano (saxophone), George Mraz (bass) and Paul Motian (drums). Lovano times stormy, sometimes painfully beautiful tenor game leads the all-star ensemble by swinging shots of "Rain Check" and "Johnny Come Lately" and by inspired by Claude Debussy ballad "Chelsea Bridge" and "Lotus Blossom".

The world-class saxophonist is next to pianist Bill Charlap Elvis Costello's companion at the most poignant piece on the album, "Blood Count" Billy Strayhorn's final composition, he brought 1967 paper shortly before his death in hospital. For the little melancholy melody Declan McManus has written aka Elvis Costello extracting a new text ( "My Flame Burns Blue"), which he intones with sad timbre.

Magical and intense are the contributions of Ausnahmevokalistin Dianne Reeves, who finished with their incomparably compassionate voice like six songs, including the most famous Strayhorn composition, "Lush Life", which has included the born in 1956 Diseuse with guitarist Russell Malone. In quartet created the elegant ballad "Something To Live For" and "Day Dream", the lesser-known "The Flowers The Of Love", the shimmering "My Little Brown Book" - with a rousing scat deposit - and the particularly intimate adaptation of "So this Is Love" of the Decay of the album moving.

"Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life" offers jazz in perfection, full of depth and sovereignty. Billy Strayhorn, his life modest and introverted would certainly deeply touched by this successful, a great jazz reasonable homage.

January 2007

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