An original manuscript of “Take the A Train,” compositional sketches that were never completed and a revealing look at the royalty earnings of one of the 20th century’s most revered composers: These are a few of the 18,000 documents collected in Billy Strayhorn’s personal archive, which is now available to the public at the Library of Congress.

The library announced its acquisition of the papers on Thursday. Researchers must go in person to access the collection, the Billy Strayhorn Musical Manuscripts and Estate Papers, which have not been digitized, but the library has created a digital finding aid.

Many of the materials in the collection come from Strayhorn’s 25-year run as a member of Duke Ellington’s organization, where he was the bandleader’s closest collaborator and co-composer. But it also includes materials from Strayhorn’s youth — including an original handwritten manuscript of “Fantastic Rhythm,” the full-length musical he wrote while still in high school, and of “Something to Live For,” a now-classic piece composed before his years with Ellington — and from side projects throughout his life.

“One of the big messages of this archive is how distinct and unique and original a musical voice Strayhorn was,” said David Hajdu the author of “Lush Life,” a landmark Strayhorn biography. “It’s a testament not only to the depth of his contribution to the world of Duke Ellington, but a testament to the breadth of his work away from Ellington and apart from Ellington,” he said. “This archive is staggering.”

The fascinating story of how creative cooperation inspired two of the world’s most celebrated musical acts.

The Beatles and Duke Ellington’s Orchestra stand as the two greatest examples of collaboration in music history. Ellington’s forte was not melody—his key partners were not lyricists but his fellow musicians. His strength was in arranging, in elevating the role of a featured soloist, in selecting titles: in packaging compositions. He was also very good at taking credit when the credit wasn’t solely his, as in the case of Mood Indigo, though he was ultimately responsible for the orchestration of what Duke University musicologist Thomas Brothers calls “one of his finest achievements.”

Through his fascinating examination of these two musical legends, Brothers delivers a portrait of the creative process at work, demonstrating that the cooperative method at the foundation of these two artist-groups was the primary reason for their unmatched musical success. While clarifying the historical record of who wrote what, with whom, and how, Brothers brings the past to life with a lifetime of musical knowledge that reverberates through every page, and analyses of songs from Lennon and McCartney’s Strawberry Fields Forever to Billy Strayhorn’s Chelsea Bridge. “The only people who worked as closely as Lennon and McCartney, were those 2 people at the bottom of the (book) cover-Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn”, Brothers said.


The unfinished track has been an object of fascination. It has been written about in several Sinatra biographies. But Sinatra’s record label and estate never saw fit to release it to the public… until now! Variety has the exclusive world premiere of the 1958 studio session recording of Sinatra’s attempt at ‘Lush Life’. This is in advance of its inclusion on Capitol Records anniversary deluxe reissue edition of  Sinatra’s “…Sings for Only the Lonely”, due out October 19th, 2018. Many people consider the 1958 album the finest of his career. CLICK THE LINK BELOW to hear the rest of the story…

Hear Frank Sinatra’s Unfinished ‘Lush Life,’ Finally Released After 60 Years (EXCLUSIVE)

Suite Life is an annual celebration of the life and legacy of pianist, composer and KST namesake Billy Strayhorn. For one night only, percussionist extraordinaire and Pittsburgh jazz icon, Roger Humphries and the RH Factor take the audience on a musical exploration that invokes Pittsburgh’s rich contribution to the history of jazz.

The concert is preceded by a VIP reception, and proceeds benefit the Strayhorn Legacy Fund, which supports youth and family programming at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre.

DATE: November 24th     TIME: 8pm- 11pm     VIP RECEPTION: 6pm     TICKET PRICES: $5 to $35

LOCATION: Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre, 5921 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh-PA, 15206

Composer-arranger Billy Strayhorn lived his life as an openly gay man during the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, an oppressive and homophobic era. ‘Halfway To Dawn’, a music and dance performance, recognizes the life of Strayhorn, who mostly shied away from the jazz spotlight and remains an under appreciated and acknowledged composer.

‘Halfway To Dawn’ will world premiere in Los Angeles from October 4th to the 7th at the REDCAT theatre. The tour will then travel the country and conclude in Minneapolis April 13th, 2019. Tickets are $12-$30.

Written, directed and choreographed by David Rousseve, the production combines dance and video imagery. Text describing Strayhorn’s life and historical footage give the production context while projected abstract video art expresses the emotional layers of Strayhorn’s journey.

The Billy Strayhorn Foundation (BSF) has given out $3,000 so far in 2018 to assist students and institutions with tuition, summer camp attendance and jazz studies program assistance. The Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Scholarship Award has assisted over 20 young musicians in the past 10 years and continues to grow.

Congratulations to both our individual and school music program recipients!

**Booker T. Washington School for the Visual and Performing Arts- Dallas, Texas
**Micah Graves (piano)- Boyer College of Music and Dance- Temple University
**Geraldo Marshall (trumpet)-Eastman School of Music- University of Rochester
**Bailey Johnstone (bass)- Nashville Jazz Workshop
**Ben Rubie (violin)- Litchfield Jazz Camp- Connecticut
**Andres Aybar (bass)-Litchfield Jazz Camp- Connecticut

“Take the ‘A’ Train” remix part of best selling contemporary jazz album in the summer of 2018.
Grammy nominated saxophonist Dave Koz, along with some of today’s best contemporary jazz artist, have come out with a stunning set of 11 timeless tunes reimagined by Koz and alto saxophonist Gerald Albright, tenor saxophonist Richard Elliot, trumpeter Rick Braun and trombonist Aubrey Logan.
Narrowed down from an original list that was in the hundreds, ‘A’-Train ended up being one of the final 11 songs. It is given a contemporary arrangement, including being merged with the beat of a song by hip hop icon Jay Z (Roc Boys). The mix of a jazz classic and a modern music hit is pulled off seamlessly.
Check out the song (and the album) on all streaming services and YouTube.

The 2018 Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival held June 15th thru June 17th celebrates cultures of the world and to share a common bond for music that makes us one. This year’s lineup included jazz stalwarts Marcus Miller, Gregory Porter, Kenny Garrett and Teri Lyne Carrington.
Among those providing funding for the festival, Strayhorn family members Dr. Greg and Thelma Morris provided Encore Member ($1,000+) support on behalf of Billy Strayhorn and Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc.

Northrop announces its 2018-19 Dance Season featuring 10 remarkable dance companies, including David Rousseve/ Reality, the American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Northrop is a center of discovery and transformation that connects the University of Minnesota and communities beyond by celebrating innovation in arts, performance and academics.

Written, choreographed and directed by David Roussève and performed by his diverse nine-member company REALITY, Halfway to Dawn is a vibrant multimedia dance/theater work based on the life of Billy Strayhorn, collaborator and arranger for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. While composing some of the most gorgeous American music of this century, Strayhorn was one of the few jazz artists to be openly homosexual in postwar Harlem. The production is the last of the Northrop stage performances of the season on April 13th, 2019. The Northrup Center is located at 84 Church Street, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Choreographer/writer/director/filmmaker David Rousseve has written, directed and choreographed 13 full evening works for David Rousseve/REALITY.

Founded in 1988, David Rousseve/REALITY creates expressionistic dance/theatre works that combine the accessibility, grit and passion of African American traditional and pop cultures with the challenging compositional structures of avant-garde dance and theatre to explore socially-charged, immensely relevant, and often spiritual themes.

Paris, Washington, D.C. April 9, 2018 —The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock today announced the program for the 2018 edition of International Jazz Day, with events in Saint Petersburg (Russian Federation), this year’s Global Host City, and over 190 countries around the world.


A series of educational and outreach programs will take place in the Global Host City, where the day will culminate in an extraordinary all-star concert at the historic Mariinsky Theatre, an event which will be streamed live worldwide. Partners on the seven continents will celebrate jazz as a universal language of peace on International Jazz Day, celebrated every year on April 30th.


Iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (USA) and renowned saxophonist Igor Butman (Russia) will serve as artistic co-directors of the all-star concert and John Beasley (USA) will serve as the evening’s musical director.