Review: Byron Stripling’s COVID-delayed podium debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony

Posted on: July 29, 2021

“There’s a new sheriff in town at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He sings, he dances, he plays trumpet and he conducts—the inimitable Byron Stripling on Friday made his long-awaited debut with the orchestra at … the amphitheater at Hartwood Acres, leading the musicians in a program of jazz gems and American airs,” writes Jeremy Reynolds in Friday’s (7/23) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The former lead trumpeter and soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra, Stripling kicked off the evening himself with a piercing sound that animated the ‘Tiger Rag’ by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band with vim, vinegar and verve. He maintained that initial zest throughout the evening, peppering pieces with commentary…. He found a deputy in the orchestra’s own [violinist] Jennifer Orchard, cowboy boots and all, who delivered a sizzling interpretation of the old favorite ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm.’ … Other standout players included bass player and vocalist Nick Parrot … pianist Bobby Floyd [and] percussionist Jim Rupp…. Stripling himself led the evening’s conclusion with his trumpet, delivering a hearty take on ‘When the Saints Go Marching In,’ blasting a clarion call at the finale that signaled promising things from the pops series to come.”