Mr. Bill Cunliffe exquisitely plays Blood Count, a Billy Strayhorn composition.
William Thomas Strayhorn (November 29, 1915-May 31, 1967 was a long time collaborator with Duke Ellington. His compositions include "Take the 'A' Train", "Chelsea Bridge", "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing", "Upper Manhattan Medical Group", and "Lush Life".
"Lush Life sends me to high heaven and quickens my heart. Inner knowing, creativity and the kiss of God are all over this composition. The lyric and the music is sad, expressive, hopeful long ago, lonely and resolute. Billy Strayhorn’s awareness, depth and gifts shine in this piece. He certainly paints a picture here and he was all of sixteen years young when he penned it.”
- Patrick Gandy
I used to visit all the very gay places Those come what may places Where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life to get the feel of life from jazz and cocktails
The girls I knew had sad and sullen gray faces with distingué
traces That used to be there you could see where They’d been washed away by too many through the day Twelve o'cocktails
Then you came along with your siren song To tempt me to madness I thought for a while that your poignant smile Was tinged with the sadness of a great love for me Ah yes, I was wrong. Again, I was wrong
Life is lonely again and only last year Everything seemed so clear Now life is awful again a troughful of hearts Could only be a bore
A week in Paris will ease the bite of it All I care is to smile in spite of it I'll forget you I will while yet you are still Burning inside my brain
Romance is mush stifling those who strive I'll live a Lush Life in some small dive And there I'll be while I rot with the rest Of those whose lives are lonely too
Bill Cunliffe - Jazz pianist, composer and Grammy-winning arranger has performed with legends including Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and Art Farmer. He currently appears with his trio; his big band; his Latin band, Imaginación; and his classical-jazz ensemble, Trimotif.
Bill’s latest releases include his trio album “River Edge, New Jersey,” with bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tim Horner; and his Overture, Waltz and Rondo for jazz piano, trumpet and orchestra, which he performed with trumpeter Terell Stafford and the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Luis Biava. The recording won Bill his fifth Grammy nomination, for Best Instrumental Composition. “That Time of Year” (2011), his album of solo-piano improvisations on Christmas carols, was described as a “tour de force” in the Los Angeles Times.
Bill was awarded a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for “West Side Story Medley,” on the 2009 album “Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson.” His film work includes the score for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s basketball documentary, “On the Shoulders of Giants.” The movie recently received an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary. Bill’s soundtrack was nominated for Best Album.
Bill is a jazz studies professor at Cal State Fullerton. He received his master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and was the 1989 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition.
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