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Something to Live For: Music of Billy Strayhorn
Boston, Massachusetts
Thursday, 10 December 2015 - 7:30 PM
Conductor: Ken Schaphorst
Many music lovers know Duke Ellington as the man who wrote jazz classics "Take the 'A' Train" and "Lush Life." Except he didn't. Having recognized the talent of fellow composer/pianist/arranger Billy Strayhorn, Ellington made this soft-spoken man's eloquent tunes a mainstay of his band's repertoire, alongside his own compositions. Ellington said: "Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine."

Now, during the 100th anniversary of Billy Strayhorn's birth, the spotlight is back on his distinct, individual contribution to one of America's greatest musical legacies.

In tonight's concert, Ken Schaphorst leads the NEC Jazz Orchestra in performing many of Strayhorn’s best-known compositions and arrangements: “Blood Count,” “Chelsea Bridge,” “Day Dream,” “Take the 'A' Train,” “Rain Check,” “Satin Doll” and “Upper Manhattan Medical Group.”

In addition, pianist Ran Blake will be featured in a new arrangement of Strayhorn’s “Something to Live For” by NEC Jazz Orchestra director Ken Schaphorst.

1958 portrait of Billy Strayhorn by Carl van Vechten
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New England Conservatory
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