Jazz scholar Michael Zirpolo, who created the rewarding biography of Bunny Berigan, has also written a fine study of Billy Strayhorn for the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors (IAJRC) Journal. It’s not a simple reiteration of biographical information; rather, the essay covers the early years of the Strayhorn / Ellington musical association (1939-1942), and it disentangles to a large degree, who wrote what in those years, Duke or Billy, or Duke and Billy.
With characteristic generosity, Mike wants to make his Strayhorn piece, ten thousand words long, available to any interested readers — no fuss, no muss, no cost. You may email Mike at email@example.com and he will send it to you in PDF form for you to read at your leisure.
A portrait of the jazz scholar:
And while you’re reading the latest Zirpolo opus, listen to the Billy Strayhorn Orchestra (directed by Michael Hashim) here. Are you going to their November 20 concert?
May your happiness increase!