featured video

Go To Videos Page



2014 got off to a great start for Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc. (BSSI) and the Billy Strayhorn Foundation (BSF). The Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference in Dallas, January 8th thru 11th, bought together close to 2,000 jazz educators, students and musicians for educational workshops, musical performances and over 100 booth exhibitors.  BSSI continued to heavily promote the upcoming 2015 Strayhorn centennial thru event sign ups by schools and individual artist, pledging to perform Billy Strayhorn tributes in their hometowns and cities. BSSI also had wonderful buttons and booksmarks made especially to promote 2015. Please contact us to let us know of an event you are planning as part of the world wide Strayhorn celebration in 2015. We will make sure to include it as a part of the 2015 celebration calendar! You can e-mail us in the "CONTACT" section of the website.

La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing picked by Downbeat as one of the best jazz albums of 2013!!

Saxophonist Paul Carlon is racking up honors and awards for his 2013 Latin side tribute to Billy Strayhorn, La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing (Zoho Music). The January 2014 issue of Downbeat magazine included La Rumba as one of the best new albums of 2013, reviewed in its October issue. Congratulations to Paul and his great band of musicians for the success of this well received project.    





NEW YORK, February 24, 2014—Reservoir announces the acquisition of the First State Media Group (FS Media) catalog, a collection of 26,000 copyrights spanning seven decades. 

 Founded in 2007, FS Media contains a collection of iconic compositions from sources like Wind-up Music Publishing, Dimensional Music (including Dreamworks Music Publishing), country catalog Teracel, and Sheryl Crow.  Several songs in the catalog are tent-poles of their respective genres, with Chubby Checker's "The Twist", The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie", Duke Ellington's "Take The 'A' Train", and The Trammps' "Disco Inferno" standing out among its many historic compositions.  Works performed by John Denver, Bob Marley, and the Carpenters, plus contemporary hits from artists like Kelly Clarkson, Creed, Evanescence, and Finger Eleven, round out the impressive collection.

 Reservoir President Golnar Khosrowshahi comments, "We are thrilled to represent the writers and the high caliber of works in the FS Media catalog.  Acquisitions like these provide the ideal combination of the scale and quality we consider when strategizing the growth of our company.  This deal is one of many more to come."

 Reservoir Chief Operating Officer Rell Lafargue will spearhead integration of the FS Media catalog into the company’s affairs.  Reservoir will assume administration in the U.S. and Canada out of its New York office and will work with BMG in international territories.

 Lafargue says, “We anticipate a seamless transition.  Through our numerous acquisitions, including TVT Music and the U.K. companies Reverb Music and P&P Songs, we’ve learned that these kinds of transactions are exactly where Reservoir excels. Our team and infrastructure are well positioned to take in catalogs, identify new creative opportunities, and see them thrive.  We believe we will implement yet another successful integration, and that Reservoir will provide a lucrative long term home for this wonderful catalog.”


Reservoir is a global-minded independent music publisher based in New York City, boasting a multi-genre, hit-driven catalog. With a robust collection of 75,000 copyrights and offices in Toronto, London, and Dublin, Reservoir represents more than 100 #1 singles worldwide performed by 50 Cent, 2 Chainz, Aaliyah, Beyoncé, Donna Summer, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Usher, among many others.  The company is home to the catalogs of Nate "Danja" Hills, Lil Jon, Scott Storch, John Rich, Kenny Alphin, Bruce Roberts, and Stephen "Static Major" Garrett.  

Reservoir pursues new marketing opportunities and revenue streams for its writers, while providing world-class catalog administration using the latest technology and software. The company continues to grow through the selective acquisition of new catalogs and the signing and development of creative talent from around the world.

For Reservoir corporate press inquiries, please contact Sarah Cunningham of The Chamber Group at 212.366.5801.

Clark Terry. (Illustration by Paul Kisselev)

Clark Terry, jazz trumpeter extraordinaire. (Illustration by Paul Kisselev)

Strayhorn friend and jazz great Clark Terry stars in the documentary "Keep On Keepin' On"

In his melodic debut, Australian-director Alan Hicks spent four years following the charming and sometimes poignant mentorship between jazz-legend Clark Terry and blind piano prodigy, Justin Kaulflin, during a pivotal moment in each of their lives. At eighty-nine years old, ‘CT’ has played alongside Duke Ellington and Count Basie; his pupils include Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, but his most unlikely friendship is with Justin, a 23-year-old with uncanny talent but debilitating nerves. As Justin prepares for a competition that could jumpstart his budding career, CT’s failing health threatens his own. Beautifully nostalgic with a reverence for the importance of finding your own sound, Keep On Keepin’ On celebrates an iconic musician while introducing one of equal vibrancy. It is a mentoring tale as inspirational as its subjects.

-Genna Terranova

Movie & Music Special Event: Quincy Jones, producer of Keep On Keepin’ On produced a dream performance after the premiere of the film at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday, April 19th at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove and Justin Kauflin graced the stage of the theater after the initial screening to honor jazz legend Clark Terry.

Foundation News!! The Billy Strayhorn Foundation, Inc. ("BSF") makes its official debut with this summer 2013 newsletter. Click on our link below.







Smithsonian Jazz Appreciation Month 2014

The official poster for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Jazz Appreciation Month 2014, features the Joseph Holston screen print “Jazz.” Created and printed in 1990 by Holston, the print is his tribute to American jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane.

Initiated by the Smithsonian in 2001, Jazz Appreciation Month (or JAM) is intended to draw public attention to the glories of jazz as both an historical and a living treasure. The idea is to encourage musicians, concert halls, schools, colleges, museums, libraries, and public broadcasters to offer special programs on jazz every April.

Holston’s print “Jazz” is one of three of his prints included in the exhibition “Convergence: Jazz, Film, Dance and the Visual Arts” which opened at the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, and is now on view at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, through April 27, 2014.

The Billy Strayhorn Foundation: Moving The Legacy To Another Level  

The Billy Strayhorn Foundation, Inc., a non profit incorporated in the State of New York, exists to celebrate the music and life of the composer, arranger, pianist Billy Strayhorn and to develop an appreciation of his music among all people. The BSF supports this purpose through live music performance, lectures, and symposia.


The Jazz Education Initiative of "BSF" consists of six major elements:


1) Participation in the Jazz Education Network annual conference,

 2) Building relationships with jazz educators, music teachers and musical artists,

 3) Collaboration with organizations that promote the music and image of Billy Strayhorn to students from elementary school through college,

 4) Communication BSF activities on the BSSI website,

 5) Telling the Strayhorn Story—a series of pamphlets which provide family perspectives on Billy Strayhorn and discuss issues surrounding the capture, preservation, management and broadening of the musical legacy of Billy Strayhorn.

6) Providing financial support for promising high school and college musicians through the award of Billy Strayhorn scholarships.

For more information, go to the Billy Strayhorn section on our website to learn how you can support the Foundation and the wonderful legacy of Jazz for students and educators.

National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters, Nation's Highest Honor in Jazz

Recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony & concert on January 13, 2014, at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, which will be webcast live at and


The National Endowment for the Arts announced the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters, all unique in their approaches to jazz. Whether it's Richard Davis and Keith Jarrett bringing their jazz background into other musical genres such as classical music and rock and roll, Anthony Braxton's avant-garde creations which defy categorization, or Jamey Aebersold's development of an interactive jazz education tool that can be used anywhere, these artists all show how the art form is evolving and growing in our country. These musicians and educators, now awarded the nation's highest honor in the field, are recognized for their lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz. They will each receive a one-time award of $25,000.

NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa said, "On behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts, I am proud to announce the newest class of NEA Jazz Masters. The NEA is committed to supporting this uniquely American art form, whether it's through educational materials such as NEA Jazz in the Schools, supporting performance and educational activities by the Jazz Masters through Jazz Masters Live, or in this case, honoring the individuals who have devoted their lives and careers to mastering, sharing, and expanding this music." The 2014 NEA Jazz Masters are; JAMEY AEBERSOLD- Educator, Saxophonist, Pianist, Bassist, Banjo player.  ANTHONY BRAXTON- Composer, Saxophonist, Clarinetist, Flutist, Pianist, Educator. RICHARD DAVIS- Bassist, Educator. KEITH JARRETT- Pianist, Composer   


Tchaikovsky (arr. Ellington, Strayhorn) The Nutcracker Suite

Harmonie Ensemble New York, Steven Richman (conductor)


Reviving the art of 'swinging the classics', Steven Richman and the Harmonie Ensemble/New York present two different versions of the beloved Nutcracker Suite side by side on the same album for the first time: the Tchaikovsky original of 1892, followed by the 1960 jazz remake masterminded by the American dream team of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. A sense of the different flavours of these two divergent versions can be gleaned from the titles of each movment: Overture, Toot Toot Tootie Toot (Dance of the Reed-Pipes), Peanut Brittle Brigade (March), Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy), Entr'acte, Volga Vouty (Russian Dance), Chinoiserie (Chinese Dance), Dance of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers), Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance). Compare, contrast and enjoy!

Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite Op 71a, Nutcracker Suite (1960) (arr. Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn)

The Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre; A great Pittsburgh      neighborhood deserves a great theater.


That’s the corner­stone of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Named for two of Pittsburgh’s most celebrated talents in the last century—dancer Gene Kelly and composer Billy Strayhorn—KST contributes to the renaissance of East Liberty and redefines theater with provocative, original programming and a social experience unlike any other venue in the region. KST is approaching its centennial anniversary in 2014, a time to celebrate our role in the vibrant and diverse cultural history of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty.

Through the Alloy School, artSEEDS Student Matinees, and our artist residency programs, KST encourages diverse, inclusive, and high quality, artistic, cultural and educational activities. By nurturing these pursuits, we contribute to cultural understanding, quality of life, as well as economic development in our community, county, city and region.

Kelly Strayhorn Theater is an intimate, professionally-equipped, 350-seat multiple-use performance venue. We offer an active rental service that brings exciting and unusual events to the neighborhood. Beautiful facilities are professionally equipped and can accommodate a wide range of performing arts events such as concerts, dance, music, theater and other disciplines at competitive market-based rental rates.

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater is one of Pittsburgh’s distinct cultural treasures and a destination for innovative works in dance, theater, music and live art.



Check out this great review in the October 2013 JazzTimes magazine! Paul is making a Big Splash with this Latin side interpretation of 10 Strayhorn classics.


Paul Carlon: One Busy (and swinging) Musician

A saxophonist's new album imagines Strayhorn as Cuban

For me the best things are playing gigs with the incredible range of talented musicians who populate New York City,” says saxophonist, arranger and composer Paul Carlon. “Just having lived and worked here this many years, I can call so many great players for gigs large or small, and they invest themselves fully in whatever is before them. It’s a privilege. And being able to travel to parts of the country or world I’ve never seen and play for people and try to reach them. That’s an incredible thing.”

Carlon’s latest album, La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing (Zoho music) is a beyond-superb collection of Billy Strayhorn tunes that takes “the listener to a fun, hypothetical musical universe in which Billy Strayhorn was born in Havana.”

The album reads like a who’s who of New York’s finest: Anton Denner on alto, flute, and piccolo; Alex Norris on trumpet; Mike Fahie, Mark Miller and Ryan Keberle on trombones; John Stenger on piano; Dave Ambrosio on acoustic bass; William “Beaver” Bausch on drums; Wilson “Chembo” Corniel on congas; Obanilu Ire on barriles and maraca; and Christelle Durandy, Benjamin Lapidus, and Pedrito Martinez on incredible vocals. (Lapidus also plays decima and tres and Martinez plays congas and bata). Whether you’re a Sweepea fan, a jazz fan, a Latin fan or simply a music fan, La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing will enrich your ears. Carlon says, “well, the image of Billy Strayhorn as a rumbero is the easiest way to express the complex process of re-imagining his music in a context quite removed from the one it was written in. But that kind of ‘What if?’ scenario is something I’ve been into since my early years of trying to learn the jazz tradition bumped up against my middle years being immersed in various Latin American traditions".

I would first encourage you to order it from your favorite music shop, but if you aren’t lucky enough to have one in your town, Carlon’s magnificent album is also naturally available on

You won’t regret it.         






Music Institute of Chicago starts Billy Strayhorn Scholarship Fund


In 2011, the Music Institute of Chicago and  Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc., formed a partnership with plans for the 2012 Billy Strayhorn Jazz  Festival.  The groundbreaking festival served as a launching point for  the centennial celebration of Billy Strayhorn’s birth in 2015, which is  being planned by the Billy Strayhorn Foundation.


The  Billy Strayhorn Jazz Festival also marked the 50th anniversary of  Strayhorn’s important role in Chicago as the  music director of Duke  Ellington’s My People, a work composed in 1963  on the occasion of the  100th anniversary of the Emancipation  Proclamation.  This important  composition was performed as part of the  "A Century of Negro Progress  Exposition" at the Arie Crown Theater at  McCormick Place.


In tribute to Billy Strayhorn’s innumerable contributions to the jazz canon, which have created a formidable legacy for musicians from all genres, as well as his important role in the struggle for civil rights, the Music Institute of Chicago established the Billy Strayhorn Scholarship in Jazz Studies.  Scholarship funds will be awarded annually to school age students from underserved communities throughout the greater metropolitan Chicago area.


Billy Strayhorn’s life story and signal accomplishments will also serve as an inspiration for future generations of youth who will benefit from the Billy Strayhorn Scholarship in Jazz Studies.  With the aid of scholarship support, students will be able to aspire to the remarkable accomplishments of the Fund’s namesake.


Proceeds from ticket sales and other related activities from the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Festival will support the establishment of the Billy Strayhorn Scholarship in Jazz Studies.  The Music Institute of Chicago also welcomes outright contributions from Festival attendees, as well as other friends who may not be able to attend. 


Please Contribute Today!

Tax deductible contributions may be made in the following ways:


Mail:     Billy Strayhorn Jazz Scholarship Fund

             Music Institute of Chicago

             517 Green Bay Road

             Wilmette, IL  60091

 * Please make checks payable to Music Institute of Chicago 

 Music Institute Of Chicago (MIC) honors 2013 Billy Strayhorn Songwriting Contest Winners


First Place: “Battle Cry” by Michael Werner/$500 MIC scholarship: Michael Werner, age 14, is a freshman at Evanston Township High School and a trumpet student of Chris Hasselbring at the Music Institute of Chicago.
"I chose the name Battle Cry because the melody reminds me of a battle. The Emancipation Proclamation was significant because it was the end of the battle that was slavery. This piece represents that battle". 


 Second Place:  Kyle Lueptow/ $300 MIC scholarship: Kyle  Lueptow, age 17, is a senior at Evanston Township High School. He is a  musical theater student at the Music Institute of Chicago under the director of Matt Boresi and Mike O’Mara. He has studied piano for ten years and over the past three, has begun writing his own music.


 About the Contest

Billy Strayhorn, the primary collaborative partner of Duke Ellington for 28 years, created a compelling musical language that transcended Ellington. His innumerable contributions to the jazz canon create a formidable legacy for musicians from all genres. Strayhorn’s deep knowledge of both classical and popular music enabled him to create a unique approach to song writing.  Elements of his harmonic sophistication and voicing techniques have become emblematic of excellence in the jazz repertoire. In addition to his musical achievements, Billy Strayhorn has become identified with the struggle for civil rights. In 1963, Billy Strayhorn came to Chicago to serve as music director of Duke Ellington’s My People, a work composed on the 100th anniversary of the “Emancipation Proclamation” and performed as part of the "A Century of Negro Progress Exposition" at the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place. In tribute to Billy Strayhorn and the upcoming 150th anniversary of the “Emancipation Proclamation,” the Music Institute presented the Billy Strayhorn Song Writing Contest for high school students in Cook, Lake and DuPage Counties. Submissions were judged by MIC President and CEO Mark George, Jazz Studies Director Audrey Morrison and Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc. President Alyce Claerbaut., New Social Media Site for Jazz Musicians, Debuts

Site allows players to message, post clips, and more

A new social media site created for jazz musicians and other pros in the jazz community,, allows jazz players and singers of all skill levels to create a profile for themselves, to message each other, to upload audio and video clips, to contribute ideas in the forum and to sell their stuff in the marketplace, all free. The site also allows editors, reporters, bloggers, club owners, promoters and other pros in the jazz community to join in the conversation.

The site describes itself as a “jazz player’s Facebook with no pics showing what members are having for dinner, just jazz talk.”

The site was created by Bob DeRosa of the Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps, who says, “The backstory is kind of interesting. At the end of every Tritone camp, at least a few campers come up to me and say, ‘Bob, this has been a spectacular week, but how do I keep this going when I go home to Toledo (or Toronto, or Tokyo)? How do I find people to jam and gig with?’ At first all I could offer was to put up a notice in the local music store. But as social media evolved, it seemed there was room for a site where members could search for and find each other by city, state, instrument, skill level, etc. So that's what I wound up building.”

Adds DeRosa, “It wasn't until I released it and people started signing up that I realized its potential for uniting the worldwide community of jazz players and singers. That’s the most exciting aspect to me.”



Paul Carlon

La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing/Happy Birthday Billy!

featuring Christelle Durandy and Ben Lapidus

Friday, November 29th at Drom

9:30 to 10:30 PM. Doors open at 9 PM

85 Ave A, New York, New York 10009 (212) 777-1157
$10 Advance/$15 at door

Saxophonist/composer Paul Carlon presents a “Latin-side-of” reimagining of Billy Strayhorn's works on what would be the iconic composer's 98th birthday. Carlon's CD on Zoho Music, La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing, takes a whimsical look at an alternate reality wherein Billy grew up a rumbero on the streets of Havana.  With a mix of Afro-Cuban guaguancó, mambo, batá, bolero, Puerto Rican bomba, and Argentinian zamba, the album tears through ten Strayhorn gems utilizing Paul's working ensemble as well as guest percussionists Pedrito Martinez, Chembo Corniel, and Obanilu Ire.

This show will feature husky-voiced chanteuse Christelle Durandy, tresero Benjamin Lapidus, and conguero Paulo Stagnaro, as well as some brand new arrangements Paul has been working on since the release of  La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing.

Paul Carlon: saxophones and flute Anton Denner: alto saxophone, flute, and piccolo Andy Gravish: trumpet Mike Fahie and Noah Bless: trombones John Stenger: piano Dave Ambrosio: bass William 'Beaver' Bausch: drumset Paulo Stagnaro: congas Benjamin Lapidus: tres and vocals Christelle Durandy: vocals

Beloved Jazz Pianist and Radio Host Marian McPartland Dies at 95

Award-winning jazz pianist Marian McPartland has died at the age of 95. The longtime Concord Jazz recording artist and host of the National Public Radio show "Piano Jazz" died of natural causes August 20, 2013 at her Port Washington home in Long Island, NY.
 Over a career that spanned more than six decades, McPartland became a fixture in the jazz world as a talented musician and well-loved radio personality. Her legacy of achievement and advocacy on behalf of up-and-coming artists had long established her as an invaluable figure in modern culture.
In 29 years with Concord Jazz, McPartland released over 50 albums - a remarkable feat, combined with more than 30 years at the helm of "Piano Jazz," the longest running cultural program on NPR. The long list of honors bestowed upon McPartland and the show include a George Foster Peabody Award, the Gracie Allen Award given by American Women in Radio and Television, the National Music Council's American Eagle Award and a GRAMMY® Trustee's Award for lifetime achievement.


                          From the Archives...

2007 Talk of the Nation NPR interview with author David Hadju, filmaker Rob Levi and Strayhorn family member Alyce Claerbaut previewing the "Lush Life" documentary. Click the link below.

Billy Strayhorn: Jazz Composer Gets His Due


Website Copyright BSSI. Website Design by Innovative Entertainment Solutions.Logon