|Personnel: Chris Botti (trumpet); Katharine McPhee, John Mayer, Josh Groban, Steven Tyler , Sting (vocals); Dominic Miller, Mark Whitfield (guitar); Ina Zdorovetchi (harp); Bonnie Bewick, Michael Rosenbloom, Lisa Crockett, Vyachaslav Uritsky, Si Jing, Ronald Khudsen, Nancy Bracken, Joseph Scheer, Ikuko Mizuno, Glen Cherry, Alexander Velinzon, Wendy Putnam, Gerald Elias, Huang, Aza Raykhtsaum, James Cooke, Tatiana Dimitriades, Sheila Fiekowsky, Jason Horowitz, Bo Youp Hwang, Elita Kang, Xin Ding, Lucia Micarelli, Joseph McGauley (violin); Rebecca Gitter, Marc Jeanneret, Michael Zaretsky, Cathy Basrak, Rachel Fagerburg, Mark Ludwig, Kazuko Matsusaka, Lisa Suslowicz (viola); Alexandre Lecarme, Mihail Jojatu, Blaise Dejardin, Adam Esbensen, Andrew Pearce , Jonathan Miller, Mickey Katz, Yo-Yo Ma, Ronald Lowry (cello); Cynthia Meyers, Linda Toote (flute); Michael Wayne, Thomas Martin , Craig Nordstrom (clarinet); Robert Sheena (oboe, English horn); Mark McEwan (oboe); Richard Ranti, Gregg Henegar (bassoon); Benjamin F. Wright, Bruce Hall , Richard Kelley (trumpet, flugelhorn); Jane Sebring, Kate Gascoigne, Jonathan Menkis, Jason Snider (French horn); Toby Oft, John Faeita, Douglas Yeo (trombone); Dennis Nulty (tuba); Mark Stephens , Billy Childs Trio (piano); Russ Irwin (keyboards, background vocals); Todd Seeber, Randall Zigler, Joseph Holt , James Orleans, Lawrence Wolf, Dennis Roy (double bass); Billy Kilson (drums); Timothy Genis (timpani); Lee Vinson, Will Hudgins, Ricardo Monzon (percussion).
|Chris Botti in Boston features trumpeter Chris Botti along with a bevy of name artists performing live with the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall in 2008. Fully documented as a concert film and album, the night is an intimate and soulful bird's-eye view of the supple-toned trumpeter who has grown into his role as a virtuoso since his time backing up Sting -- who of course appears here. Perhaps it isn't surprising then the concert is subtly reminiscent of Sting's own classic coming-of-age concert moment, Bring on the Night. If Sting's 1986 show was an attempt to reintroduce himself to the world as a pop-cum-jazz artist, then Botti's 2008 show is clearly a showcase for the onetime smooth jazz wunderkind to represent himself fully as the eye of his own crossover storm. Having never fully embraced the synthetic vibe of the smooth jazz sound, Botti has spent his time since 2004's massively popular When I Fall in Love creating his own organic, acoustic and "straight-ahead" crossover jazz. In the context of contemporary smooth jazz, Botti's retro gesture is actually kind of innovative. Clearly owing a heavy debt to legendary trumpeter Miles Davis, Botti not only surrounds himself with the elegant, live Boston Pops Orchestra, but has hired some of the most heavy-hitting rhythm section players on the scene with drummer Billy Kilson, bassist Robert Hurst, pianist Billy Childs, guitarist Mark Whitfield, and others. The result clearly pulls much inspiration from Davis' work with Gil Evans -- he even plays "Flamenco Sketches" -- but never seems to belabor the comparison. Similarly, Botti's choice of guest artists, including vocalist Josh Groban, violinist Lucia Micarelli, and even rocker Steven Tyler, always appears genuinely considered based on Botti's own musical taste. And although pairing the elegant cellist Yo-Yo Ma with Botti is somewhat of a no-brainer, their work together here, much like the entire concert itself, is never less than breathtaking. [A CD/DVD version was also released, the DVD including performances of songs not on the album such as "Indian Summer" and "Cryin'," as well as behind-the-scenes bonus footage.] ~ Matt Collar