VSO POPS: Nothin' But The Blues

Dates and Venue 21 and 22 November 2008 @ 8 pm | The Orpheum Theatre

Jeff Tyzik, Conductor

Byron Stripling, Trumpet/Vocalist

Reviewer Susan Peake

The mood was light at the Orpheum Theatre Friday night, as Byron Stripling set the tone for an evening of stellar entertainment that was indeed a gift bag of blues favorites.  The spectrum ran from captivating trumpet solos to spectacular scatting and so much more in between.

The expressive Bobby Floyd, on organ, opened achieving amazing sounds more often associated with an electric guitar than the organ.  Wycliffe Gordon, a gifted trombonist, and Byron, on trumpet, followed.  They performed a medley of beautifully arranged blues favorites that included “Lady in Blue” and “When the Saints Come Marching in”.

Stripling, whose talents don’t stop as renowned trumpeter, is also an accomplished singer and actor.  His obvious charm, versatility and warm personality bring so much to the stage that he, alone, could provide a full complement of entertainment to an evening’s audience.  But, Byron is generous with the stage and shared it last night with many. 

Dee Daniels, a skillful big band vocalist and pianist, charmed us with such favorites as “Tonite I won’t be Singin’ No blues”, and “Everyday I have the Blues”.In the second half of the show, one of the highlights was Daniels singing a Jimmy Reed tune, “Baby What You Want Me to Do”.

Conducting the VSO was Jeff Tyzik, who hails from Rochester, New York and has spent the last 15 years as Principal Pops conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.  His arrangements of blues favorites such as “St. Louis Blues”and “Night Train” were brilliantly done with just the right flavor of blues and jazz.

The evening went by all too quickly and the audience, who were quick to rise for a standing ovation and rousing applause, was not ready to let the entertainment end.  Unfortunately, there was no encore, but Stripling, Daniels, Gordon et al  did promise to sign CD’s in the lobby after the show.  I guess you can’t have it all!!


2008 Susan Peake