Taken from Lush Life, A Biography of Billy Strayhorn, by David Hajdu, published in 1996 by Granta Publications.
Billy Strayhorn, composer of Ellington's theme "Take the 'A' Train" and Ellington's arranger for nearly three decades, was the co-composer with Ellington of "Satin Doll" and many other jazz standards introduced by Ellington's orchestra. He dedicated his whole professional life to the service of Duke Ellington, was Ellington's alter ego and wrote in a style so akin to Ellington's that few people could distinguish their work.
In a previous life I worked as a piano technician in Canada. I prepared a piano for Duke Ellington once, in Edmonton, Alberta. He had the biggest hands I ever saw on a pianist, easily able to stretch more than an octave and a half.
John Morley, Editor