1915 – IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR!

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On CONNECTED 2 JAZZ, Nigel Vermaas’s Bush Radio 89.5FM show on Tuesday nights in December, he will be marking the centenaries of two music giants: Billy Strayhorn (born 29 November 1915) and Frank Sinatra (born 12 December 1915) Earlier this year CONNECTED 2 JAZZ marked the centenary of another great artist’s birth, Billie Holiday (born 7 April 1915)

Whereas the swaggering Sinatra, whose Hoboken roots never really left him, has been a household name for nearly 80 years, as famous for his love life, punch-ups and gangster connections as he was for his singing and acting talents, the refined Strayhorn is virtually unknown outside the jazz community.

Billy_Strayhorn,_Billy Strayhorn by William P. Gottlieb

Billy Strayhorn, who lived most of his working life in the shadow of Duke Ellington, was the writer and co-writer of many of the Ellington Orchestra’s most famous compositions, notably TAKE THE ‘A’ TRAIN. A discreetly but openly gay black man in a time when many opted for the closet, Strayhorn (‘Swee’pea’, as Duke called him) was also a brilliant orchestrater. The combination of the more flamboyant Ellington with the retiring Strayhorn produced some of the greatest works in jazz.

CONNECTED 2 JAZZ will honour Strayhorn on Tuesday 1 December from 8-10 p.m. on Bush Radio 89.5fm / http://www.bushradio.co.za

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Frank Sinatra – arguably the greatest male singer in the history of popular music – may not have been a jazz vocalist as such but he certainly identified with jazz artists (particularly Billie Holiday and Tony Bennett) and used many jazz instrumentalists on his recordings and live gigs; and most jazz singers admire Sinatra.

CONNECTED 2 JAZZ pays tribute to the “Chairman of the Board’ on Tuesday 15 December from 8-10 p.m. on Bush Radio 89.5fm / http://www.bushradio.co.za

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