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Andrew Homzy on Ellington-Strayhorn

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Andrew Homzy made another interesting presentation at the Copenhagen ’92.

This time, his focus was the collaboration and creative process between Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

He had studied the manuscript scores in the Ellington Archives and used them to provide insights into the process.

Homzy had selected examples from 21 songs to comment upon but because of lack of time he went more deeply into only some of them.

They were, among others, Something To Live For, Barney Goin’ Easy, Take The ‘A’ Train, Rocks In My Bed, Tell Ya What I’m Gonna Do and Memphis Blues.

List of songs

With these songs, Homzy demonstrates the different modes of Ellington’s and Strayhorn’s collaboration  like Ellington sets up the arrangement and Strayhorn takes over or Ellington do the arrangement of a Strayhorn composition or Strayhorn arrange an Ellington composition etc.

The audience benefitted from slides with scores that Homzy had prepared for his presentation.

Unfortunately, we do not have access to them except the one for Rocks In My Bed which was among the handouts provided to the conference participants.

Rocks In My Bed 1

The discussion on the compositional interplay beetween The Monster (Ellington) and Sweetie Pie (Strayhorn) continued at the next Ellington Study Group conference – the one which took place in Stockholm in 1994.

Having also studied the material in the Ellington Archive, Walter van de Leur, provided another presentation on the topic. Here is the link to the presentation

He had some different views from Homzy, which he, of course, further discussed in his book Something To Live For.


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