MARILYN MAYE, MAX VON ESSEN, KLEA BLACKHURST, SALLY MAYES, JIM CARUSO, GABRIELLE STRAVELLI AND MORE WILL BE SPECIAL MUSICAL GUESTS AT BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB TO CELEBRATE WITH GRAMMY AWARD-NOMINATED PIANIST, VOCALIST AND SONGWRITER
BILLY STRITCH @ BIRDLAND
“BILLY STRITCH’S BIG BIRDLAND BIRTHDAY BASH!”
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10 THROUGH SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12
Birdland Jazz Club will welcome back Grammy Award-nominated pianist, vocalist and songwriter Billy Stritch for an exclusive five-show concert engagement celebrating “Billy Stritch’s Big Birdland Birthday Bash!” from Thursday, February 10 through Saturday, February 12. Special guests over the course of the run will include Marilyn Maye, Max von Essen, Sally Mayes, Klea Blackhurst, Gabrielle Stravelli, Jim Caruso, and more. This new show highlights Billy’s unique mix of songs from the jazz canon and the Great American Songbook from writers such as Stephen Sondheim, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, George Gershwin, and Harold Arlen, in addition to personal favorites from his award-winning livestream series “Billy’s Place.” In addition to Stritch on piano and vocals, the Birdland shows will feature Tom Hubbard on bass and Eric Halvorson on drums. For tickets, please visit BirdlandJazz.com.
The run of concerts also helps celebrate The Sunday Set, the new album with Jim Caruso which boasts a new selection of urbane standards, jazz favorites and sly comedy numbers. The recording from Club44 Records, captured live at The Birdland Theater, was released last month.
Stritch’s recent album Billy’s Place – hailed as “causal, cool and charming” by Jazz Weekly – is the first piano-and-vocals album of his career, delivering a deeper level of intimacy and connection than his previous releases. “The song selection was born out of my weekly livestream show ‘Billy’s Place’ that I started during the pandemic,” comments Billy. “I’ve been able to learn and present music by a diverse group of composers, and the songs on the album are many of my favorites from these shows. I was able to include many special songwriters, including Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart (‘Falling in Love with Love’) and Hoagy Carmichael (‘Skylark’), as well as more contemporary writers like Peter Allen (‘Planes’) and my friend Barry Manilow (‘Meet Me, Midnight’).”
The album’s latest single – a lush symphonic version of the album’s song “Ordinary Miracles,” the Marvin Hamlisch and Alan & Marilyn Bergman standard also performed by Barbra Streisand and Nancy LaMott – boasts a 46-piece orchestra.
“He not only does it all but he makes it look easy,” raved Stephen Holden in The New York Times. “To be given a full hour of non-stop Billy Stritch song stylings seems like an embarrassment of riches, with his smooth, mellifluous vocal cords wrapped around interpretive storytelling,” wrote Stephen Mosher from BroadwayWorld.com. According to Judi Mann of KDHX-FM in St. Louis, “This seasoned veteran plays and sings masterfully with versatility and absolute certainty. He owns the room, and he knows it!”
Billy Stritch will celebrate “Billy Stritch’s Big Birdland Birthday Bash!” at Birdland Jazz Club on Thursday, February 10 at 8:30 PM; Friday, February 11 at 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM; and Saturday, February 12 at 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM. The cover charge is $30. Birdland Jazz Club is located at 315 West 44th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) in Manhattan. For reservations, please call (212) 581-3080 or visit www.BirdlandJazz.com
BILLY STRITCH is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York and national jazz and cabaret scenes. He began his career in Houston, Texas, where he formed the vocal trio Montgomery, Plant and Stritch. The trio performed all over the world from 1983 until they disbanded in 1990. A chance meeting with Liza Minnelli in 1991 resulted in her asking him to create vocal arrangements for Liza’s record-breaking extravaganza Stepping Out at Radio City. In addition to his 25-year collaboration with as accompanist and opening act for Liza, Billy recently toured with the legendary Tony Bennett as Tony’s pianist and musical director.
A solo entertainer in his own right, he has performed his own shows (including tributes to Mel Tormé and Cy Coleman) in concert halls and nightclubs across the country. Billy also serves as music director for such leading vocalists as Marilyn Maye, Linda Lavin, Linda Eder, Christine Ebersole and Paulo Szot. He is the co-writer of the Grammy Award-winning song “Does He Love You,” recorded by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis. The single reached the number one spot on the Billboard Country music chart, winning a Grammy Award and selling in excess of five million copies along the way. A new version was released in 2021 by Reba and the legendary Dolly Parton.
Billy has arranged music for many top performers and created the arrangements for Minnelli on Minnelli and Liza’s at the Palace, both at Broadway’s famed Palace Theatre. He was also seen on stage playing the role of “Oscar” in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of 42nd Street in 2001. During Covid-19, he created his own weekly Facebook live-stream show “Billy’s Place,” celebrating the Great American Songbook with songs and stories from his varied career.