He stood five feet, two inches tall, and his musical colleagues dubbed him “Swee’ Pea,” after the little character in the Popeye cartoons. But Billy Strayhorn ranked with the giants that composed enduring standard popular music. He was also nobody’s cartoon character. The handle was a reverent tease, applied by Strayhorn’s musical associates in the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Composer Johnny Mandel shares birthday honors with Billy Strayhorn this week. We'll hear a sampling of their songs this Sunday, November 25th at 7 pm. Billy is best known for his sophisticated works, mostly with Duke Ellington (Take the "A" Train, Lush Life, etc.) and Johnny for his movie scores (I Want To Live and Americanization Of Emily). Join us for exciting Big Band interpretations!