Billy Stritch & Gabrielle Stravelli “Mel and Ella Swing!”
September 19 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Renowned pianist and singer Billy Stritch and award-winning jazz vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli combine their considerable talents for an evening of great music celebrating the legendary Mel Tormé and Ella Fitzgerald at Birdland on Monday, September 19 at 7pm.
“Mel and Ella Swing!” includes beloved favorites from the Great American Songbook (“The Man I Love,” “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square,” “Cheek To Cheek”) and swinging standards from the world of jazz (“Too Close For Comfort,” “Lady Be Good”). These two performers have brought their magic to stages all over the world and together bring an incredible knowledge and feel for this great music that’s not often seen these days. It’s an incredible and joyful presentation of the some of the best music of the 20th century and an evening you won’t want to miss!
“Singer-pianist Billy Stritch is the epitome of jazzy sophistication as he sings the songs of Mel Torme.” — David Cuthbert, New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Ms. Stravelli’s emotional intelligence coincides with a phenomenal voice that she wielded with an easygoing confidence and impeccable taste.” – The New York Times
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 New York and Europe from 1983 until they disbanded in 1990. A chance meeting with Liza Minnelli in March of 1991 resulted in her asking him to create vocal arrangements for the record-breaking extravaganza Liza Stepping Out at Radio City Music Hall. 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 Linda Lavin, Christine Ebersole, Paulo Szot and Marilyn Maye. He is the co-writer of the Grammy-winning song “Does He Love You” recorded by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis. When he’s not on the road, he is the pianist for Jim Caruso’s Cast Party open mic night every Monday at New York’s legendary Birdland Jazz Club and he and Jim hold forth on Sunday nights at Bemelmans’ Bar in Manhattan’s fabled Carlyle Hotel. Currently during Covid-19, he is hosting his own weekly Facebook live-stream show “Billy’s Place”, celebrating the Great American Songbook with songs and stories from his varied career. The show airs every Thursday evening at 8:00 pm EDT on his BILLY STRITCH Facebook page. He has recorded five solo CDs and his latest CD release “Billy’s Place” (Club44 Records) is a collection of his favorite songs from these online concerts.
Gabrielle Stravelli’s pairing of a jazz artist’s musicianship with an ability to interpret lyrics and connect with an audience has led to a richly varied career. She regularly leads her quartet in performances at the country’s finest jazz clubs and performing arts centers and has headlined domestic and international jazz festivals including the 2021 & 2018 WBGO Jazz on the Mountain Festival in New Paltz, NY, the 2019 Providencia Jazz Festival in Santiago, Chile, the 2016 All That Jazz Festival in Eleuthera, Bahamas and the 2014 Maree Sonore Festival in Venice, Italy.
As a US State Department “Jazz Ambassador” she has performed and taught throughout Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America.
“Dream Ago,” her 2017 release which consists primarily of original material, received a rare 5- star review from Downbeat Magazine and her 2019 release “Pick Up My Pieces: Gabrielle Stravelli Sings Willie Nelson” was featured by noted music critic Will Friedwald in the WSJ and awarded the 2020 Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording.