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Billy Stritch & Klea Blackhurst: Dreaming of a Song: The Music of Hoagy Carmichael

It’s been a busy 2008 for the multitalented kid from Sugar Land, Texas, now well into his second decade as the uncrowned prince of Manhattan jazz-cabaret society. The year began for Billy Stritch with the release of the superb Sings Mel Tormé which, remarkably, managed to cause barely a ripple. Next, to significantly greater fanfare, came Sunday in New York, his second fine pairing with musical theatre icon Christine Ebersole.

Now, the seemingly indefatigable singer/pianist/songwriter has teamed with seismic diva-in-training Klea Blackhurst, whose one-woman tribute to Ethel Merman, Everything the Traffic Will Allow, has been wowing audiences and critics since 2001. As musical director and sole arranger, Stritch shapes a marvelously comprehensive tour of the Hoagy Carmichael songbook, reminding us that there was a whole lot more to the lanky lad from Bloomington than the romantic masterpieces “Star Dust,” “Skylark” and “Heart and Soul.”

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