- 30 July 2014
By Don Heckman
There were two guys named Chris on stage at the Hollywood Bowl Friday and Saturday nights. Despite their identical first names, their styles traced to very different genres. And despite those different sources, they both offered performances rich in musicality and compelling entertainment.
Friday evening opened with the first Chris – jazz trumpeter Chris Botti — backed by his own group and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Bramwell Tovey.
Although Botti was often identified with the smooth jazz style in his early years, he has always been a player whose music was filled with the authority of jazz authenticity. Over the past two decades his ever-curious, inventive imagination has taken him to jazz settings reaching from performances with full symphonic orchestras, to straight ahead mainstream jazz, and explorations reaching the outer limits of free improvisations.
Much of that territory was explored in his gripping performance at the Bowl.
Botti began with a warm tribute to Miles Davis, applying his trademark, warm tone to a composition long associated with Davis – Rodrigo’s Concierto De Aranjuez. To Botti’s credit, he made the piece’s lush Spanish melodies his own. He was equally expressive with Davis’ “Flamenco sketches.
And when he added some familiar standards – “When I Fall In Love” and “The Very Thought of You” – he once again emphasized his embracingly warm sound and expressive tone to every melodic phrase.
Botti also showcased his skills as a leader, urging the members of his band – pianist Geoff Keezer, guitarist Ben Butler, bassist Richie Goods and drummer Billy Kilson – into their own far-reaching skills. Add to that the mesmerizing violin playing of guest artist Caroline Campbell on the Grammy-nominateed “Emmanuel,” as well as George Komsky’s soaring vocal rendering on “Time To Say Goodbye,” and the stunning versatility of singer Sy Smith.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Botti’s easygoing communication with his audience. Strolling the stage, offering occasional interchanges with his listeners, he added a quality of warm connectivity too rarely seen in jazz performances.
Read the full article here at The International Review of Music
- 17 July 2014
BY MUSIC NEWS DESK
Blue Note Jazz Club, one of the world's most iconic jazz and blues venues based in Greenwich Village, has announced world renowned trumpeter Chris Botti's milestone 10th Annual Holiday Residency. The three-week engagement at the club will run Monday, December 15, 2014 through Sunday, January 4, 2015, with two shows each evening (including Christmas Eve and New Years Eve performances).
Botti, described by The Wall Street Journal as "a December institution in the Big Apple," has called the Blue Note his home every December since 2005. Over the years the residency has featured special impromptu musical guests, such as Sting and John Mayer (2011). Celebrities from all walks of the entertainment business have attended Botti's Blue Note performances, ranging from Mary J Blige to Paul Haggis.
"Coming to the Blue Note for as many years as I've been is like coming home," says Botti. "The best city, the best club, the greatest people."
Reflecting on Botti's ten-year run, Blue Note Entertainment Group President Steven Bensusan says, "Chris' annual holiday residency has become one of the highlights of our venue's story, with a prime focus on loyalty. This is an engagement that fans regularly look forward to and support each year. It's also a testament to our relationship and history with Chris. He is truly part of the Blue Note family. We look forward to celebrating ten great years this December."
Tickets for Botti's upcoming 10th Annual Holiday Residency at Blue Note Jazz Club will be available for American Express Cardmembers during an exclusive presale window beginning Wednesday, July 23, 12:00PM EDT at www.bluenotejazz.com. Tickets will be available to the general public beginning Wednesday, August 6, 12:00PM EDT at www.bluenotejazz.com.
Read the full article here at broadwayworld.com
- 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
- 30 April 2014
By ERIC ALAN
Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti returns to the Willamette Valley with a performance at the Hult Center in Eugene on May 1st, not far from where he grew up in Corvallis. He speaks with Eric Alan about collaborating with Mark Knopfler and Frank Sinatra, and how growing up in Corvallis helped him as a young player.
Listen to the full interview here at klcc.org
- 3 April 2014
NAPA VALLEY REGISTER
BY: L. PIERCE CARSON
Chris Botti really knows how to please a crowd.
From the opening number — which paid tribute to Miles Davis’ extended version of the second movement of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” from the “Sketches of Spain” album — to the rousing closer — Al Green’s hit, “Let’s Stay Together” — his two-hour-plus show at Napa’s Uptown Theater Saturday night was the tight, entertaining, quality show we’ve come to expect of this 50-year-old jazz trumpeter.
Botti can play hot, he can play smooth. On top of that, he’s a marvelous raconteur who digs what he does, especially interacting with audiences all around the world.
The affable bandleader told a sold-out house the other night that he and his musical posse had just celebrated 10 years on the road together, wherein an average of 300 days of each year are spent performing or traveling to the next gig.
Read the full article here at napavalleyregister.com
- 25 March 2014
If you're in the New York area, Zucchero is coming to the Theater at Madison Square Garden on April 23 at 8PM with special guests Sting, Chris Botti, Dolores O'Riordan (of the Cranberries), Fher (of Maná), Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave), Elisa, Jovanotti, Fiorella Mannoia, Andrea Griminelli and more!
For More Info Click Here
- 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
- 31 October 2013
- 15 October 2013
On Friday, October 4, The New York Pops, led by Music Director Steven Reineke, opened its 2013-2014 concert season at Carnegie Hall with special guest Chris Botti. The internationally renowned jazz trumpeter joined The New York Pops to perform a new spin on classic standards and other favorites. Check out photos from inside the special event below!
Click here to see the entire photo gallery at broadwayworld.com