Billy Strayhorn Madness!
If you’re like us, you’ve spent the last two hours or so listening to WNYC. As such, you’ve heard a number of references to tonight’s PBS Independent Lens special on jazz composer and openly gay man, Billy Strayhorn.

A long-time collaborator with Duke Ellington, Strayhorn’s perhaps most well-known for penning the classic, Lush Life – from which the Robert Levi directed documentary gets its name: Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life. Of the project, according to AfterElton’s write up on the production, Levi says:

I set out to build a living, flexible, vibrant, and emotionally charged film about a gentle soul and timeless spirit who left us few clues about his inner life. I wanted the world to experience both the beauty and the pain he lived through.

And he lived through it all: poverty, discrimination, soaring heights, drunken lows – all of which have cemented him as a seminal, if not tragic, figure in American music history.

For more on Strayhorn and tonight’s documentary, click here. And, of course, watch the clip above.