Chapter Three The Strayhorn Effect: A New Way of Writing for Jazz Orchestra

Walter van de Leur

in Something to Live For

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195124484
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199868711 | DOI:
Chapter Three The Strayhorn Effect: A New Way of Writing for Jazz Orchestra

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This chapter starts out with the 1941 broadcasting ban, which made Ellington record Strayhorn originals such as Take the “A” Train, Chelsea Bridge, and Rain Check. Analysis of these works displays their main characteristics: advanced harmonies, chromatic melodies, a tight structural design, and a clear compositional concept, partly based on classical techniques. The chapter then turns to the first major Ellington-Strayhorn collaboration: Jump for Joy. A study of unused, vanguard 1941-2 works follows, including Blue Star and Pentonsilic. The final section summarizes Strayhorn’s importance in those years: he wrote or co-wrote some of the Ellington band’s stalwarts, he revitalized or fleshed out other pieces, and he arranged most of the band’s pop material. Strayhorn added an entirely new stylistic wing to the Ellington building, of which Ellington was still believed to be the sole architect.

Keywords: Ellington; broadcasting ban; Chelsea Bridge; Rain Check; Jump for Joy; Blue Star; Pentonsilic

Chapter.  8407 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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