The song of the day for Wednesday, November 30, 2023, is “Take The A Train.”
Today we are honoring Billy Strayhorn, who was born on November 29, 1915. Born in Ohio, he grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied classical music at the Pittsburgh Musical Institute and wrote “Lush Life” during that time. In 1938, he met Duke Ellington, who invited Strayhorn to visit him at his home in the Sugar Hill neighborhood in New York. Ellington wrote down instructions on how to get to his home after arriving in New York, starting with “take the A train.” Strayhorn worked with Ellington for 25 years, until Strayhorn’s death from cancer.
About This Song
“Take The A Train” was written by Billy Strayhorn in 1939, with lyrics by Joya Sherrill (which were added in 1944). It became Ellington’s signature tune and was played at virtually every concert he gave.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Take The A Train” on May 20, 1999, and features the Ralph Sharon Quartet, with Paul Langosch (bass), Gray Sargent (guitar) Clayton Cameron (drums) Also featured are Al Grey on trombone and Wynton Marsalis on trumpet. It was arranged and conducted by Ralph Burns. This recording was an unreleased outtake from Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool. It was included in Rarities, Outtakes and Other Delights, Vol. 2, in the 2011 Complete Collection box set.
“Take The A Train,” as well as Rarities, Outtakes and Other Delights, Vol. 2, is available on Apple Music.
I’m adding Lady Gaga’s solo recording of “Lush Life, from her album with Tony Cheek to Cheek, released in 2014.
A Note to Readers
I will likely be posting intermittently for a while. I won’t be able to see well for a while (cataract surgery, no big deal) which makes it difficult to post. No fear, The Twelve Days of a Tony Bennett Christmas will start on December 14, as usual. Thank you all for your support of The Year of Tony Bennett.