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Stritch, Christopher make jazz festival debuts

Billy Stritch

Cape Cod summers are packed with festivals celebrating everything from films to dance to music. This month, the 12th annual Provincetown Jazz Festival offers three concerts over two nights, with the mission of bringing high-quality jazz performers to the Cape and showcasing some different styles of the music called jazz.

Making their Provincetown Jazz Festival debuts are: Billy Stritch, Scott Avidon, Evan Christopher, and Nikki Parrott.

On Thursday August 11, the action is at the Crown & Anchor in Provincetown. Singer-pianist Billy Stritch will perform a tribute to legendary jazz singer Mel Tormé with selections from Tormé’s arrangements in what is known as the Mel Tormé Songbook. Stritch will be accompanied by Ron Ormsby on bass and Bart Weisman on drums, according to festival information. Stritch tours on the national jazz and cabaret scene, accompanying and arranging for stars who include Liza Minnelli, Linda Lavin and Marilyn Maye. He’s appeared on a variety of TV talk shows and co-wrote the 1994 Grammy Award-winning song “Does He Love You,” which was a hit for Reba McEntire and Linda Davis.

Also on Thursday, Scott Avidon – a sax player, composer and educator – will perform with Fabiano de Castro on piano, and Ormsby and Weisman.

Evan Christopher

The program for August 15 at Cotuit Center for the Arts will feature clarinetist/composer Evan Christopher, who will play the “contemporary early-jazz” style he’s specialized in through time in jazz hub New Orleans. Christopher moved to The Big Easy from California in 1994 and since then has performed at the Newport Jazz Festival and on tours around the United States and Europe. Accompanying Christopher will be Fred Boyle (piano), Nicki Parrott (bass), and Weisman (drums).

Parrott, an Australian double-bassist and jazz vocalist, will open for Christopher. Voted the Best Jazz Vocalist in 2007 and 2008 by Japan’s Swing Journal, Parrott performed for more than a decade with the Les Paul Trio. She has since worked with many noted musicians, played for Broadway shows, and now performs regularly at jazz festivals and venues around the world. Boyle and Weisman will accompany her.

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