Quick: who wrote the classic jazz song “Take the A Train”?
If you answered Duke Ellington – close, but no cigar. The jazz impresario gets credit for writing that and other classic jazz tunes (“Satin Doll,” anyone?), but the man who composed them was Billy Strayhorn.
Strayhorn was a jack-of-all-trades for Ellington’s orchestra: pianist, arranger, composer, and collaborator. He was also an out, gay African American, not an easy thing to be in the early-to-mid 20th Century.