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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 oldĀ  (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 scatĀ  – 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.”