Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life

Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life

Edited by A. Alyce Claerbaut and David Schlesinger


News Hook: An exploration of the life, work, and legacy of the jazz legend Billy Strayhorn, published to commemorate the centennial of his birth.


Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life celebrates the life of late jazz legend Billy Strayhorn, who is perhaps best know for the 28 years he spent as Duke Ellington’s “writing and arranging companion.” But Strayhorn’s significant contributions to the American jazz canon extend well beyond his partnership with Ellington—and they have been underrated for years.


51qCXlDoZ6L._SX408_BO1,204,203,200_Strayhorn collects essays, photography, and rare memorabilia—such as handwritten scores—to chronicle every stage of Strayhorn’s life. The book is divided into two major sections. Part One: Musical Orbits focuses on the arc of Strayhorn’s musical life, starting with his childhood musical education and ending with his post-Ellington work. Part Two: Moral Freedoms explores Strayhorn’s life outside of music, including his civil rights activism and his open homosexuality.


Contributors include Ramsey Lewis, award-winning jazz composer and musician; David Hajdu, Strayhorn’s award-winning biographer; Walter van de Leur, jazz musicologist and author of the definitive book about Strayhorn’s music; Robert Levi, director of the Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life documentary; Bruce Mayhall Rastrelli, Strayhorn scholar and director of the stage production Lush Life; and members of Billy Strayhorn’s family, including nephew Gregory A. Morris, executor of the Strayhorn estate.


Enthralling, enriching, and visually captivating, this collection lauds a beloved jazz icon and captures a legacy that will influence generations to come.

 A. Alyce Claerbaut is the president of Billy Strayhorn Songs Incorporated. She is very involved with the arts scene of Chicago, particularly with jazz organizations.

David Schlesinger is a writer and editor living in California.


Strayhorn, Agate Bolden, 978-1-932841-98-5,

November 10, 2015, 9.25 x 11.25, 208 pp., $35,

Music/Individual Composer & Musician/Biography

Trade Cloth


Order your copy of:  Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life

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