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Storyville to release 7 CD Strayhorn compilation October 2014 ! 

This superb box set celebrating the work of William Thomas Strayhorn echoes the basic paradox of this extraordinary jazz musician’s life and career.

The richness and diversity of the music it contains will delight the most obsessive Strayhorn aficionado; at the same time it offers a thrilling introduction to the man many know only as someone who once played in Duke Ellington’s band and wrote “Take The “A” Train.

The 7 CDs contain material presenting 62 of Strayhorn’s compositions, not only focusing on his work outside of the Ellington orchestra, but also presenting him in Duke’s company.

Billy Strayhorn, the man whose musical abilities could have made him a star in his own right, labored in the shadow of a world-famous benefactor. This collection of his recordings puts him firmly in the spotlight for once, revealing beyond doubt the true scale of his musical contribution to jazz.

Take a look at this promo presented by Storyville Records....

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Lady Gaga records 'Lush Life' on new CD with Tony Bennett

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett have officially joined forces.

The two music titans recently announced “Cheek to Cheek,” their forthcoming jazz duets CD, will be out September 23rd. The two first recorded a cover of the 1937 showtune “The Lady Is a Tramp” for Bennett’s 2011 album “Duets II.”

Gaga will cover Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” as a solo effort on the CD.

“I love the way she sings,” Bennett said. “The whole world loves her.”

“He’s a legend,” Gaga added. “He’s really changed my life with this record. I’ve been singing jazz since I was 13 years old and Tony was the first person who knew that.”

Listen to Lady Gaga sing Lush Life at the Montreal Jazz Festival in July.

Ella Fitzgerald Photo from the official Ella Fitzgerald Facebook page

Ella Fitzgerald Facebook Page Honors 47th Anniversary of Billy Strayhorn's passing.

On May 31st, 2014, the Ella Fitzgerald Facebook page created a wonderful post in memory of Billy Strayhorn. Selected Strayhorn songs were highlighted.  Also, a long list of very nice comments were left by visitors to the site. Please go to our media gallery/video section to hear Ella's classic rendention of 'Something to Live For'. Special thanks to the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation for the great work they do and helping to keep the memory of Billy Strayhorn alive.

In 1957, Billy Strayhorn and Ella Fitzgerald worked together on a project teaming her with the Duke Ellington Orchestra called, 'Ella Fitzgerald sings the Duke Ellington Songbook'. Several of the songs were arranged by Strayhorn.

Visit Ella to read more about Ella and her Foundation. 

Jazz stars, with Strayhorn on the horizon!

A concert by some of Pittsburgh's jazz stars provided an early kickoff to the celebration of Pittsburgh native Billy Strayhorn's centennial birthday in 2015.

The 10th-annual Jazz on the Hillside was celebrated June 27th, 2014 on the lawn at the Schenley Heights Community Development Multi-Purpose Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The concert featured Al Dowe and Etta Cox, the Roger Barbour Quartet and the Tubby Daniels Quartet. Radio stalwart and Pittsburgh Jazz Society founder Tony Mowod was the host for the evening.

Tickets benefited after-school tutorial, summer-enrichment and track-and-field programs as well as parent-support groups in Pittsburgh's inner city. The Schenley Heights Community Development Partnership has been a mainstay in the Hill district community of Pittsburgh for over 20 years. SHCDP provides a number of programs that enable children to have a safe place to go and to grow.


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, 2014 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.


Kelly Strayhorn Theater receives $1.05 million grant

The Heinz Endowments has awarded a $1.05 million grant to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty.

Janera Solomon, the theater’s executive director, announced the gift and said the funds will help the theater increase attendance, create fellowships for artists and broaden the theater's base of donors.

When it opened in 1914 as the Regent Theatre, the building offered seating for 1,100 moviegoers and featured a grand organ that provided accompaniment for silent films.

This fall, the theater marks its centennial. The building was renamed in 2000 for two of Pittsburgh’s outstanding artists: actor, dancer, choreographer and movie director Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn, pianist, jazz composer and arranger who had a lifelong collaboration with Duke Ellington.

The terracotta-trimmed building was restored in the late 1990s and reopened in 2003. Initially, it was used mostly by small theater groups and non-profits that rented the space for receptions and charity benefits.

In 2009, the Kelly Strayhorn began offering original programming and in 2012, it merged with Dance Alloy, which gave it an opportunity to offer dance and movement classes. That year, the theater celebrated its fifth season of offering original programming that includes contemporary dance, music, concerts, theater, fashion events and films.

The grant marks a continuing investment in the theater by the Heinz Endowments. In 2000, the foundation made a grant of $370,000 to the theater.

Story by: Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post Gazette. May 24th, 2014




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.


                          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


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