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Pictures from Odessa!

Check out these pictures from Odessa, Ukraine! Special thanks go out to Duke, Alexey and Svetlana for making our first trip to Odessa memorable!

Sydney, Australia – Concert review , The Sydney Morning Herald

by John Shand

Blowing the trumpet on a scintillating act

The Basement, August 23 FORGET the pretty-boy image, the Sting-derived celebrity and the lapses of taste. Chris Botti is a brilliant trumpeter accompanied by one of the great bands to visit Sydney in recent years.

He is the biggest-selling jazz instrumentalist, partly because he is also the ultimate cross-over artist, embracing funk, classical, rock and cocktail music.

Performing live the truth will out, especially in a crucible like the Basement. After opening with Ave Maria – showing off his tonal purity and breath control – Botti eased into When I Fall In Love. This was not exactly reassuring, as Andy Ezrin’s synthesiser washes seemed designed to allay any threat of real jazz.

But suddenly the ballad erupted into lava-hot funk, then became even more explosively free, with thrilling interaction between Botti and the drummer Billy Kilson.

This was highest-calibre jazz, which Billy Childs sustained with one of the most gripping and multi-faceted piano solos I have heard in years.

Just when it seemed we were safe, the willow-limbed violinist Caroline Campbell joined Botti in tossing us a light classical lolly for no discernible reason.

However, he redeemed himself with an unforgettable Flamenco Sketches. The plaintiveness of Miles Davis’s original was soon forged into platinum trumpet blasts over a scorching band (completed by the guitarist Mark Whitfield and the bassist Tim Lefebvre): wondrous jazz to restore faith and convert sceptics.

The wonder lingered when Botti gave a beautiful reading of Cohen’s Hallelujah against the guitar, although creeping synth washes undermined the intimacy.

The singer Lisa Fischer, of Rolling Stones fame, only strengthened the show. On a rabidly funky The Look of Love, she slid between a sumptuous contralto and a dazzling top end, while Whitfield gave a master-class in rhythm guitar.

As she enthralled us for four songs, the band became ever more dangerous.

If further overblown silliness occasionally punctuated the magic, Botti was as charming between songs as he was scintillating during them. Do not miss this band.

Chris Botti – National Theatre, Melbourne – Herald Sun Review

The National Theatre, St Kilda,
Sunday
Reviewer: Siimon Plant

Back arched and blowing hard, Chris Botti creates sounds of almost Alpine purity.  But this American jazz trumpeter can swing low as well, coaxing achingly beautiful blue notes from his gleaming instrument.

No wonder Botti earned standing ovations for his single Melbourne show.

Right from the start, Botti’s band (pianist Billy Childs, drummer Billy Kilson, guitarist Mark Whitfield, bassman Tim Lefebvre, Andrew Ezrin on keyboards) demonstrated awesome power and precision.  Childs was a demon on the grand piano.  Kilson’s percussive drive was simply astouonding.

Two guest artists – violinist Caroline Campbell and singer Lisa Fischer – combined magnificently on Italia…the night’s big closer.  But Botti had the last word.  Wading into the audience, he reeled off an unplugged version of Frank Sinatra’s One For My Baby and had everyone baying for more.

Marie Claire Magazine

Christiane Amanpour, CNN veteran and brand-new anchor of ABC’s This Week, reports on the contents of her purse. Marie Claire, September 2010

Chris Botti – National Theatre, Melbourne Australia Review

by Dione Joseph, Australia Stage

On Sunday night there was only one place to be for all jazz fans. And that was at the National theatre with none other than the legendary Chris Botti!

A superb evening was had by all and not only because Botti can wield his trumpet with all the dignity and class of a king but also because he was magnificently assisted by a transformational five piece band. These outstanding musicians included Gugenheimer fellowship recipient and twice Grammy award winning pianist Billy Childs, “ridiculously bad ass drummer” Billy Kilson, “bad boy of jazz” Mark Whitfield, bassist Michael Valerio and keyboardist Andy Ezrin.

If Botti was the star of the night he was closely followed by a shower of meteorites. No sooner had he transfixed the audience with the magic of his instrument did he introduce world famous violinist Caroline Campbell who joined Botti in an exquisite duet of Emmanuel. And the fun didn’t stop there.

Lisa Fischer, female vocalist for the past 15 years with Rolling Stones joined Botti on stage for some classic renditions of Good Morning Heartache, an absolutely amazing Italia, and Nat King Cole favorite: The Very Thought of You.

Botti also shared all time favorite Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen with lead guitarist Mark Whitfield creating a powerful hush over the sell out crowd gathered to witness “one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.”

Easily building a rapport with the audience Botti shared jokes, history and the driving force behind his choice to become a trumpeter, Miles Davis, who inspired him to continue the trend of slowing jazz down. As a tribute to the album Kind of Blue, Botti and his band dedicated their own version of the Flamenco sketch to the memory of a man who had the vision and enterprise to change jazz music.

Botti also won the audience over by making friends – including a very lucky 13 year old  (also a trumpet player!) who walked away brimming with smiles after Botti congratulated him and his parents for not succumbing to the demands of instant gratification that many of us are caught up in today.

For nearly two hours Chris Botti, his band and his extraordinary guests transported Melbourne on a journey towards rediscovering the beauty of jazz and the magic of making melodies with your soul. A night that earned the artists a standing ovation from Melbourne’s jazz fans and gave us an intimate jazz experience like no other.

Chris and Lisa Fischer

Lisa Fischer, who typically shares the stage with the Rolling Stones, joins Chris Botti to sing – and scat  – as Botti plays at the debut of Salon de Louis Vuitton, held in the boutique’s Union Square Maison — San Francisco Magazine, August 2010

Trumpeter Chris Botti returns to Washington

By Nancy Dunham
Special to The Examiner
August 4, 2010

Let’s face it — Washington just can’t get enough of Chris Botti.

The much-acclaimed trumpeter, who has received accolades from everyone from Frank Sinatra to Sting, often plays to packed houses in the District. Now he’s close to selling out another local show.

“It’s kind of never-ending touring,” Botti said. “We toured 11 months last year. I am almost always on a tour bus.”

And to hear Botti tell it, he couldn’t be happier with that schedule. Botti was born in Portland, Ore., where his mother, a classically trained pianist and part-time piano teacher, exposed him to music at an early age. At age 11, he decided to pursue a career that would involve creating music reminiscent of the acclaimed Miles Davis.

“The music that really inspired me … was more like Miles Davis playing ballads with the second quintet,” Botti said. “You know, that spacey thing, when they broke down all the chords in the song? That band playing ‘Stella by Starlight’ is something very different from, say, Bud Powell playing the same tune.”

Fast-forward to today, when Botti himself is acclaimed as a leading jazz musician — and more. Consider this review from the Worcester, Mass., Telegram and Gazette:

“Poor Chris Botti. The talented trumpeter with the tousled blond hair made People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People list in 2004; and ever since then, some jazz aficionados have accused him of being a musical lightweight. Wrong!” wrote critic Peter Landsdowne. “Botti sent his detractors packing last night … [with] a solid two-hour-long concert that showed that he knows how to handle the horn.”

So just how does the Grammy Award-winning Botti compose — and, of course, play — such compelling music? Basically, it’s a combination of his early training and the Miles Davis sound to which he gravitated. His unrelenting goal to be the best — perhaps best evidenced by the journal he kept of his daily practice for almost three straight years (he fell short by a few days) — has also helped lead him to his critically and commercially successful sound.

“I’m lucky that my fans are so diverse,” Botti said. “[On a recent night] there was a couple celebrating their 61st anniversary. There were also a ton of young musicians there. It is really cool to see that and see [trumpet music] accepted on such a big level.”