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 Stryahorn 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 arts.gov and jalc.org/live
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)
SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE OCTOBER 2013
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; Pittsburgh PA great neighborhood deserves a great theater.
That’s the cornerstone of 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 Amazon.com.
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 2013Billy 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.
FindJazzers.com, New Social Media Site for Jazz Musicians, Debuts
Site allows players to message, post clips, and more
By Jeff Tamarkin-Jazz Times Magazine August 2013
A new social media site created for jazz musicians and other pros in the jazz community, FindJazzers.com, 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.”
La Rumba is a Lovesome Thing/Happy Birthday Billy!
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.