Fabulous Friday: "Lush Life"
This is the last song in our *Stardust Melodies* tribute. I strongly urge you to read Will Friedwald's book, it's a fascinating read and a treasure trove of information about those twelve songs.
Billy Strayhorn wrote the lyrics and music to "Lush Life" - - he worked on it from 1933 to 1936, which was between the ages of 18 and 21. Amazing that he was able to capture the world-weariness at such a young age. He met Duke Ellington in 1938, when he was 23 years old, and spent the next 25 years working for and with him. Here's how Ellington described their partnership, after Strayhorn's death in 1967: "Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine."
I've only heard one recording that I think really captures the elegance and the heartbreak of the song, and that's the recording by Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane.