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, 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
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