Genlux Magazine shuts down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills for a VIP concert event with Grammy winner Chris Botti and his world-class band. From start to finish this beautiful night under the stars came to fruition in only 92 days. With the help of Craig Donahue at The Donahue Group, The Rodeo Drive Committee, and the City of Beverly Hills, we created the biggest event since Andrea Bocelli held a concert here almost 15 years ago. Genlux is proud to have had the support of the Mayor of Beverly Hills, the City Council and all of the merchants of Rodeo Drive to hold this momentous event. Thanks to those who helped including BMW and Westime and the Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive.
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
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
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.