- 24 June 2014
BY JANELLE GELFAND
Trumpeter Chris Botti’s show at Riverbend on Saturday night dazzled, from the Miles Davis arrangement of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” to his nod to Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli in “Time to Say Goodbye.” But the best moment of this high-energy display was a surprise encore, which came after the Cincinnati Pops and most of Botti’s band had left the stage.
With only his piano player, the superb Billy Childs, Botti lifted his horn in a gorgeous rendition of “My Funny Valentine.” It was the piece he had heard Miles Davis play when he was 12, which convinced him to devote his life to music. His playing was personal, intimate and warm – and showed another side to the range of his artistry.
Botti’s Riverbend show, a menu of love ballads, pop tunes and jazz standards, had listeners on their feet several times on Saturday. He’s appeared other times with the Cincinnati Pops in Music Hall, but this time, the Pops, led by John Morris Russell, played mostly back-up. Botti brought with him his band of remarkable musicians, who lent their own kind of dazzle in sophisticated arrangements.
Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez,” originally written as a guitar concerto, introduced Australian guitarist Ben Butler and violinist Serena McKinney, who made lovely contributions as Botti played its soaring themes. Besides his flashy technique – and there was lots of that on display on Saturday – he knew exactly how to phrase a melody for romantic effect.
There were alluring duos between Botti and McKinney in “Emmanuel” and Ennio Morricone’s love theme from “Cinema Paradiso.” (When Delta lost the violinist’s luggage on the red-eye from L.A., Downtown’s Saks outfitted her with a gown for the show, Botti noted.)
Sinatra’s “When I Fall in Love” evolved into a hot jam session, with Botti pulling from an arsenal of improvisations against some showy contributions from bassist Richie Goods.
The trumpeter muted his horn for “Flamenco Sketches,” from Davis’ “Kind of Blue” album, which traveled from the blues to a swinging showpiece. Even with a mute, which he also used in Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” he managed to communicate his distinctive, singing tone. Watching Botti’s draw-dropping feats -- glissandos, trills, tremolos and screeches into the stratosphere – gave you the feeling that he was capable of just about anything.
Born in Portland, educated at Indiana University, the 51-year-old trumpeter was an amiable host. Between numbers, he chatted about his work with Sting and Bocelli, and the time he played for Bill Clinton, when “the president stood three feet in front of the bell of my trumpet, analyzing everything.”
A soulful singer named Sy Smith joined for Burt Bacharach’s “The Look of Love” and other tunes, at one point scatting in perfect synch with the trumpeter. She and Botti strolled into the audience in “The Very Thought of You,” as the band cranked up the decibel level on electric guitars. Another singer, George Komsky, added an Italianate voice to “Italia,” which Botti co-wrote with the great David Foster.
Things were more white-hot after intermission. Drummer Billy Kilson, who moved and grooved all evening, was showcased at the end in a spectacular display of his personality and virtuosity. And I can’t say enough about Child’s stunning piano playing all evening. His inventive improvisations drew upon a range of styles and wide-ranging harmonies. The show’s rousing closer was Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” Smith sang along with the trumpeter as the crowd stood and clapped to the music, and Botti promised to come back.
Read the full article here at cincinnati.com
- 24 March 2014
THE NEW YORK TIMES - ARTSBEAT
BY ALLAN KOZINN
The actress Trudie Styler and her husband, Sting, will be joined by more pop stars – Paul Simon, James Taylor, Dionne Warwick, Ivy Levan – as well as a trumpeter, Chris Botti, and an opera singer, Renée Fleming, in the biennial Rainforest Fund Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall on April 17.
The Rainforest Fund, which Sting and Ms. Styler founded, began as an organization meant to both campaign for environmental preservation and to help the indigenous people who live in the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. It has since expanded to include projects in 23 countries, including Belize, Cameroon, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. A spokeswoman for the organization said that the fund has raised $35 million.
“This year is the Rainforest Fund’s 25th anniversary,” Ms. Styler and Sting said in a statement, “and its work to protect rain forests around the globe for the people who live there and for all of us is more important than ever.”
Read the article at The New York Times - ArtsBeat
- 11 March 2013
By THOR CHRISTENSEN / Special Contributor
Photo by BEN TORRES / Special Contributor
Chris Botti’s jazz trumpet chops aren’t the only reason he can fill big halls like the Meyerson Symphony Center, where he began a three-day stand on Friday night.
For starters, he’s got sex appeal and pop instincts. To put on the crass hat for a moment, Botti is the new Chuck Mangione but with much nicer hair.
But the bigger reason for Botti’s success is he dares to do what so many jazz players don’t: He entertains -- and with gusto.
Fronting his own band, Botti came off as stand-up comedian who also happens to play jazz. He peppered the show with self-deprecating quips, declared himself “the palest guy to ever play a trumpet” and mocked his own ego and quirks: He ordered two fans to move to empty chairs near center stage, confessing “I have O.C.D. with the audience.”
He was also incredibly gracious, thanking Sting and Paul Simon for hiring him early in his career, dubbing the Meyerson “the Carnegie Hall of the South” and lavishing praise on the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, a frequent partner over the years (though not for this engagement). He also raved on about his own band members, who proved they deserved it.
Pianist Geoffrey Keezer jolted several tunes with virtuosic swing. Bassist Richie Goods helped reinvent Miles Davis’ “Flamenco Sketches” with a rambunctious solo. And drummer Billy Kilson gave the show a rock ‘n’ roll edge.
Botti led fans on an engaging trip from Chopin’s “Prelude No. 20 in C Minor” to ballads like Sting’s "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" to a jazz-rock overhaul of Burt Bacharach’s “The Look of Love.” Just when his trumpet work got too melodramatic, he reversed course into free-form jazz or a brazen scat-and-response duet with guest singer Judith Hill.
For an encore, he trotted out “Nessun Dorma,” the Puccini tearjerker that fellow PBS star Andrea Bocelli also performs as an encore. But instead of making it his operatic swan song, Botti pulled a young woman from the crowd and had her bash away on drums for a thoroughly comic climax, complete with her extremely tall dad onstage filming the whole thing. Botti might be mainstream and proud of it, but he knows exactly when to hit a twisted note.
- 11 February 2013
To see the complete list of winners go to http://www.grammy.com/nominees
- 14 January 2013
Democrat And Chronicle
Video by Kris J. Murante
The standout trumpeter, no stranger to this city, performs this weekend with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at Eastman Theatre.
- 20 November 2012
Written by Ashley Polasek
Contributing Writer, GreenvilleOnline.com
When Chris Botti and guest vocalist Renee Olstead found themselves working through kinks in “The Very Thought of You,” a song they were performing together for the first time at their Peace Center concert Friday night, he quipped “this is really jazz.”
And was it ever.
In a concert that ranged from Chopin to Michael Jackson, trumpeter Botti’s melodic jazz style and his keen improvisational skills were at their best from his first note.
Looking ever-dapper in a three-piece suit, Botti stepped on stage and launched into a jazzy tune, filling the hall with a wonderful robust tone. He showcased his seemingly endless stamina as he soared, rocked and wailed his way through a two-hour set of expertly-arranged tunes.
Musical variety is the hallmark of Botti’s concerts and he didn’t disappoint, creating a set that seamlessly ran the gamut between jazz, pop, rock and classical.
The ethereal “Love Theme” from the Italian film “Cinema Paradiso,” a jazz-infused version of Chopin’s “Prelude in C Minor” and a touching rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” were all the more pleasing for being unexpected.
Botti took the stage with an intimate band of five that would have been as at-home in a nightclub as they were in the Peace Center’s Concert Hall. Each of the musicians took solos that highlighted an incredible range of talent.
Pianist Billy Childs and bassist Richie Goods contributed particularly dazzling fleet-fingered solos, during a tribute to Miles Davis’ “Flamenco Sketches.”
Versatile guitarist Leonardo Amuedo thrilled the crowd with solos that ranged from a soulful caress to a hard-charging version of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.”
In addition to Olstead, the concert also featured guest violinist Caroline Campbell.
Campbell accompanied the band on several numbers, rendering a particularly powerful and heartbreaking duet, “Emmanuel,” with Botti. She also took the stage and let loose on a virtuosic, screaming solo number that earned roars of delight, and a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience.
Olstead, who was joining this tour for the first time, sang with a sensuous sophistication well beyond her 23 years. She provided touching and intimate vocals, but really wowed the crowd when she and Botti expertly scatted together on “The Look of Love.” Olstead even taking control of the valves of Botti’s trumpet while he played pealing runs and she harmonized.
The concert ended on a heartwarming note as Botti invited a 10-year-old girl from the audience on stage to provide the swelling cymbal roll in the band’s encore number, “Nessun Dorma,” the beloved aria from Puccini’s opera “Turnadot.”
It was a touching end to an evening of superb and joyous music.
- 15 October 2012
"One of the evening’s most glorious moments joined Irving Berlin’s 'What’ll I Do?' and Rodgers and Hart’s 'My Funny Valentine' in a duet by Ms. Streisand and her special guest, the pop-jazz trumpeter Chris Botti. His silvery tone and trailing phrases, combined with the orchestra, infused both songs with an aching film-noir melancholy." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
- 29 August 2012
Written by Stephen K. Peeples, KHTS
Jazz-pop-classical trumpet player and multiple Grammy nominee Chris Botti opened the 2012-2013 season at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons with a class as well as a classy performance Saturday night, earning a standing ovation from most of the sold-out crowd of nearly 1,000 fans ranging in age from 9 to 90.
Prior to the concert, Botti was guest instructor for the Golden Valley High School big band in a special “master’s class.” Held in the storied COC Studio Jazz Ensemble big band’s rehearsal space in Pico Hall, the session was part of the PAC’s K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program.
Botti was also guest of honor at a pre-show meet-and-greet event that was packed by 100 local fans who paid $75 each to meet the artist, with the funds going to support the outreach program.
Read the whole article at hometownstation.com
- 21 August 2012
Grammy-nominated trumpeter Chris Botti has been busy this year after the release of his tenth studio album Impressions in April.
Currently traveling the world on tour, Chris is bringing his colorful sound to the stage as the featured artist for this Friday’s (Aug. 24) Summer Concert Series at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach!
Pat Prescott checked in with Chris to hear the latest on his travels, new CD, and working with some of the biggest names in music. Listen to the segments below of our exclusive one on one interview with Chris to hear what to expect from the show this Friday!
Being a bi-coastal musician, Chris has of course has his pros and cons for living and working in both Los Angeles and New York. However, because of the shift in the music industry, he spends most months out on the sunny west coast.
“Sadly the music industry has kind of left New York and it’s all [in L.A.], and that’s what I love about L.A., but sadly you don’t walk in L.A. and that’s what I love about NY,” said Chris.
Becoming a successful musician means putting a lot of work into perfecting your craft. For Chris, his passion for music started at a very young age, and he’s been working towards his goal ever since. He explains that he has no regrets from missing parts of his childhood, because it’s all paid off now.
“There are very people in the world – no matter what you give up – the reality is if I wrote my dream on a card when I was nine…and opened it up now, it would be the exact same thing,” explains Chris. “Even though you give up a whole heck of a lot of personal life issues, you gain so much on the other end that’s valuable for your heart.”
Chris has been receiving great reviews of his latest release Impressions. He talks about his inspiration for this album and the particular sound he was going for to keep his music fresh for fans.
“I wanted to make a record that kept the listener…in the same pocket without kind of moving them around, but yet a ride they can appreciate,” he explained.
Chris talks about taking the stage this weekend at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach and what fans can expect at the show.
“For me, I like it when a concert has a an up and down rather than the sameness to it and the way you really get that sweeping expanse is to have brilliant musicians behind you,” said Chris. “You really need to have an all star cast behind you.”
Chris has been working with Sting for much of his career both on tour and in studio. Their professional collaborations has evolved into a close friendship, which Chris is eternally grateful for since Sting has helped further his music career.
“I don’t really have a career on the level it is now without my friendship and his belief in my music,” said Chris. “He’s opened so many doors for me.”
As if working with Sting wasn’t big enough, Chris talks about going out on a short tour with Barbra Streisand this October.