The song of the day for Monday, November 29, 2021, is “Day Dream.”
We are proud to honor Billy Strayhorn on the anniversary of his birth on November 28, 1915. Strayhorn was, of course, a close associate of Duke Ellington for nearly three decades. Strayhorn did it all; he was a composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger. Perhaps his most well-known contribution to Ellington was “Take the ‘A’ Train.” Strayhorn had met Ellington in Pittsburgh, PA and Ellington asked Strayhorn to come to visit him in New York. Ellington wrote instructions for Strayhorn to follow to get to Ellington’s home Harlem’s Sugar Hill and Strayhorn wrote that famous song using those instructions as the lyrics.
Other significant Strayhorn songs include “Lush Life,” “Chelsea Bridge,” “Lotus Blossom,” and ” Something To Live For.”
Billy Strayhorn died on May 31, 1967, from esophageal cancer. A few months after that, Ellington recorded And His Mother Called Him Bill to pay homage to his friend and collaborator. It’s a beautiful and touching album, especially the spontaneous solo by Ellington of “Lotus Blossom,” recorded at the end of the session as the other musicians were packing up to leave.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Day Dream” on May 25, 1964, with Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Ron Carter, and Elvin Jones. This song, as well as four others, recorded at the same session, were not released commercially until they were included in the 2011 Complete Collection box set on Rarities, Outtakes & Other Delights, Vol. 1.
“Day Dream,” as well as Rarities, Outtakes, & Other Delights, Vol. 1 is available on Apple Music.
Here’s Duke Ellington’s recording of “Lotus Blossom”