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The Magic of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn

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Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn

Airs Tuesday, February 25 at 10 p.m. The artistic collaboration between Duke Ellington and composer/ arranger Billy Strayhorn is one of the most important in the history of American music.  It's the subject of the music documentary,"The Magic of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn" presented by the AAPRC Network this month.

Duke Ellington trusted Billy Strayhorn's artistic gifts from the moment he joined the band in 1939, until Strayhorn's death in 1967. Strayhorn wrote many of the songs we associate with the Duke Ellington Band today, including their theme song "Take the A Train", "Satin Doll", "Something to Live For" and many more. Duke said of Strayhorn after his passing, that he possessed  "... Tonal supremacy... A  mantle which he wore only with total grace...".

Hosted by author Stanley Crouch and produced by Jim Luce, "The Magic of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn" is a thoughtful musical expose into the life and genius of Billy Strayhorn.  Throughout his work with the Ellington band, Strayhorn preferred to remain in the background.   He found creative freedom and total acceptance with Duke Ellington, but shunned the limelight, in part, because he was a gay black man living in an era in which acceptance was not the norm.