Jazz Night In America: Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn)

Airs Monday, February 27, 2917, at 9 p.m. The fruitful collaboration between Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington is widely known to have brought us such classics as “Take The ‘A’ Train,” “Chelsea Bridge,” and “Isfahan.” But behind the music, Billy Strayhorn led a complex and often vice-driven life. While composing some of the most harmonically rich jazz of its time, often in the shadow of Duke Ellington, Strayhorn was an outlier in that he led an openly gay life as a black man in the homophobic 1940s. This week, interviews with family Strayhorn family members, Strayhorn’s biographer, and rare archival tape of Strayhorn himself.