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Queer Arrangements (Paperback)

Billy Strayhorn and Midcentury Jazz Collaboration

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Music

Imprint: Wesleyan University Press
Series: Music/Culture
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 22 b&w photos, 15 figures
ISBN: 9780819500649
Published: 1st February 2024
Casemate UK Academic


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The legacy of Black queer composer, arranger and pianist Billy Strayhorn (1915–1967) hovers at the edge of canonical jazz narratives. Queer Arrangements explores the ways in which Strayhorn's identity as an openly gay Black jazz musician shaped his career, including the creative roles he could assume and the dynamics between himself and his collaborators, most famously Duke Ellington, but also iconic singers such as Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald. This new portrait of Strayhorn combines critical, historically-situated close readings of selected recordings, scores and performances with biography and cultural theory to pursue alternative interpretive jazz possibilities, Black queer historical routes and sounds. By looking at jazz history through the instrument(s) of Strayhorn's queer arrangements, this book sheds new light on his music and on jazz collaboration at midcentury.

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