You don't have to be a jazz aficionado --- you don't, in fact, have
to know a saxophone from a slide guitar --- to enjoy Hajdu’s
masterful biography of the man who was Duke Ellington's
collaborator, co-arranger and alter-ego.
Billy Strayhorn was a young music-obsessed arranger when he met
Ellington through a friend in 1938. The rapport was instantaneous.
Strayhorn was soon more or less adopted by the sprawling Ellington
clan of sisters, wives, and children. Originally from Pittsburgh,