By Tom Alvarez, Indianapolis Performing Arts Examiner
May 13 & 14, 2011
Playing loving tribute to legendary jazz singer Mel Tormé, Billy Stritch enthralled his audience Friday evening at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club, in downtown Indianapolis, in his show, “Billy Stritch Sings Mel Tormé.”
Nicknamed “The Velvet Fog,” Tormé enjoyed a long and prolific career as a jazz singer, composer and arranger who wrote more than 250 songs, including “The Christmas Song,” commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.”
Also a singer, composer and arranger, the Grammy award-winning Stritch is well known in his own right as a regular at New York’s famed Birdland, performing on Broadway, and musical director/pianist to such show-business luminaries as Liza Minnelli.
Conveying a joyful energy and warmth that endeared him to an audience charmed by his brilliant smile and gleaming eyes, Stritch performed many of the same Tormé songs as those on his current CD, titled the same as this Cabaret show.
Between songs, Stritch bantered easily with the crowd, sharing historical information about Tormé, the man and his music, as well as personal anecdotes about his own life and career.
Possessing a vocal quality that was as pleasing as it was versatile, and displaying a robust style on the piano, Stritch sang upbeat tunes that included “Just One Of Those Things,” “Nobody Else But Me,” “Shine On Your Shoes,” “Mountain Greenery,” “Sunday In New York” and “Lulu’s Back In Town.”
Equally effective at interpreting ballads, Stritch performed moving renditions of “Born to Be Blue,” “A Cottage for Sale” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.”
Near the end of his show, Stritch, who himself is a great contributor to keeping classic American music alive, introduced Michael Feinstein, who with his parents and husband Terrence Flannery, was present in the audience.
Feinstein, who performed in concerts on Wednesday and Thursday at The Palladium in Carmel, is also its artistic director. In addition, Feinstein is the founder of the Michael Feinstein Foundation, which seeks to preserve the Great American Songbook and is housed in The Palladium.
Click here to read Tom’s review.
"One of Indianapolis' most fashionable downtown nightspots..."Tom Alvarez, Examiner.com