Spiros's Reviews > Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn

Lush Life by David Hajdu
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's review
Sep 04, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: bins, cantbelieveineverread, favorite-americans, niew-amsterdam
Recommended for: Anyone who appreciates greatness of soul
Read in September, 2008

This book chronicles what has to be the most unique and intricate collaboration in the history of music: that of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. An analogy would be if Salieri had embraced Mozart upon his arrival in Vienna, and paid all his bills and gambling debts, while Mozart wrote music for Salieri and pushed Salieri's musical acumen far beyond what it would have been, all while staying resolutley out of the Court limelight and pursuing his Masonic interests. My mind just boggled coming up with that analogy.
Anyway, this biography obviously gave me a greater appreciation for the genius of Billy Strayhorn, and it also gave me a greater appreciation for the greatness of Duke Ellington; it also made me go back and listen to "...and his mother called him Bill", which I have always regarded as the greatest tribute album ever released.

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