Knit Flix

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chris Botti

Friday night was a beautiful night for a concert. I have to thank my friend at work for offering us tickets when her friends couldn't make it. I hadn't been to the The Mountain Winery since the remodel and wow, have they been busy! The floor, folding chairs, and side seating have been replaced by a bowl-shaped amphitheater. We sat in section 21 to the side of stage right which gave us a clear view of every band member.

The opening act was Times 4, a talented jazz quartet from the area. The players were all top-notch and they impressed the crowd. We'll be watching for them in the future--I'd be happy to see them again.

The first time I saw Chris Botti was when he was with Sting's Brand New Day Tour. He impressed me then and I was curious to see what a Chris Botti show would be like. Well, I gotta say he puts on a very enjoyable show. He chats up the audience between tunes and shares insights and stories about himself as well as the band members--it added a personal touch.

I was concerned that it would be an evening of incessant smooth jazz, but I was pleasantly surprised. Sure there was a smattering of the smoothness, but he tossed in some standards, some Leonard Cohen, some up-tempo tunes, some popera, some Miles Davis... all-in-all a pleasing mix. He had a guest violinist and vocalist, both of whom provided counterpoint to his phenomenal trumpet playing.

The only part that didn't glow as bright for me happened towards the end of the show. After the first tune Chris said that his bass player and keyboardist were fairly new to the combo and only had ~15 minutes of rehearsal. Well these 2 guys sure didn't seem new to the songs and fit right in and (of course) were terrific players. As they got to the end of the set the guys seemed to be less familiar with the tunes... not that they were playing the wrong notes, they had charts... but maybe they got on the wrong side of the beat. It's a really minor thing, but something I noticed from my vantage point. If I didn't see the guitarist or Chris giving cues or putting things back on track, I probably wouldn't have noticed. But hey, these guys were total professionals, extremely talented, and for sitting in they performed exceptionally well.

Besides, with a view like this how can anyone complain? Really.

Chris Botti
Taken with a Canon SD850 IS ELPH and digital zoom with the body steadied against a railing. Shots like these are never hardly ever in focus.



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