Let us again praise Billy Strayhorn. He hasn’t been tangibly on the planet since 1967, but does a day go past without a Strayhorn melody being offered up, reverently, somewhere — even if it is in the jukebox of the imagination?
Here are some of Swee’ Pea’s lovely melodies played in real life by a quintet of sensitive creators: John DiMartino, piano; Dan Block, reeds; Andy Brown, guitar; Nicki Parrott, string bass; Pete Siers, drums, at the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party last September.
U.M.M.G. (for “Upper Manhattan Medical Group”):
RAIN CHECK (which starts late: we in the trade call this “videographer error,” or battery death and resurrection. My apologies.):
CHELSEA BRIDGE, gorgeously:
and of course, that TRAIN, which still will take you to Harlem, even though the price has substantially increased since 1941, when it was (pre-token) five cents:
These musicians know the common language so deeply and beautifully: bless Nancy Hancock Griffith for her work with the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party, now, alas, only a lovely memory.
May your happiness increase!