Billy Stritch to perform with Brazosport Jazz Orchestra

Billy Stritch to perform with Brazosport Jazz Orchestra

Tue Dec 15, 2015

An award-winning composer, arranger, vocalist and jazz pianist of extraordinary range and sophistication, Billy Stritch will be visiting The Clarion at Brazosport College on Jan. 16.

The Brazosport Jazz Orchestra will be joining Stritch on the Clarion stage. The show is sponsored by Edward Jones and Port Freeport.

Born and raised in Sugar Land, Stritch breathes new life into the Great American Songbook, all the while bringing an easy sense of humor and showmanship to his performances.

He got his start at age 12, playing piano at his church. Word spread about the child prodigy, and the local country club hired him for a four-year weekly gig in the piano bar. The dreaded requests came in droves, prompting him to rush home and learn all the requisite standards, which would subsequently fill his tip bowl. Inspiration came from jazz greats like Oscar Peterson and George Shearing, but his older sister’s love for Elton John and Billy Joel opened up a new world of pop music which informs his playing to this day. After being turned on to singers like Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald, Mark Murphy and Carmen McRae, Stritch started to find his own voice to use in conjunction with the piano mastery.

Years later, he was playing at a piano bar when Liza Minnelli stopped in, listened and immediately hired him to arrange for her “Steppin’ Out At Radio City” extravaganza. This led to international performances on stage at The Palais de Congres in Paris, The Municipale in Rio de Janeiro, The Russiya in Moscow, NHK Hall in Tokyo and The Royal Albert Hall in London.

As a composer, Stritch and Nashville writer Sandy Knox penned the 1994 Grammy Award-winning country song, "Does He Love You?," recorded by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis, which has sold more than four million copies nationwide.

Among Stritch’s television appearances are the “Rosie O’Donnell Show,” “CBS This Morning,” “Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall,” “The Today Show,” “The Charlie Rose Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He was also guest conductor for “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.”

Stritch and the Brazosport Jazz Orchestra will take the Clarion stage at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for seniors, Brazosport College employees and BC Former Student Association members and $10 for students and children.

Advance tickets are available at The Clarion Box Office by calling (979) 230-3156 or online atwww.brazosport.edu/clarion.