Concert Review with PHOTOS: Chris Botti

Photos by Leah Victoria

Photos by Leah Victoria

By Wal Reid

Artist: Chris Botti

Date / Venue: Wednesday February 21st, 2018 - Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

There isn’t a major recording artist that Grammy Award winning trumpeter Chris Botti hasn’t played with.  You name ‘em chances are he’s probably played with them.  Class acts like Paul Simon, Lady Gaga or Sting have enlisted the talented musician who started playing the trumpet at nine-years-old, and committed to the instrument at twelve when he heard Miles Davis play My Funny Valentine – funny enough, it was the last song he played all with a heart-felt thanks to the audience.

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t heard his name as there were many in attendance who had, young and old they revelled in a fine night of song & laughter covering some of his most well known songs including Emmanuel, Miles Davis’s Blue in Green and a raucous cover of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, withshow stealer violin virtuoso Sandy Cameron & guitarist Leonardo Amuedo’s blistering guitar shredding shaking the foundations of Takapuna’s Bruce Mason Centre.

Botti had waited a long time to be with his Kiwi audience and it showed, his affable persona and penchant for a good story or two hitting the mark with the spirited crowd who appeared hooked into the sartorially cool trumpeter.  “Always a good mark of a country when you can enjoy a wine on the lip of the stage” he quipped adding some nice chat time in-between songs, he even had time to play Happy Birthday to a punter in the crowdhe named ‘Dr Phil’ (actually Tom but hey).

What I loved about the show was not only the musical dexterity of these world class musicians onstage but also the energy displayed. I’ve been to a lot of gigs but the musical intensity was up there with Suicide Boys or Panic! at the Disco. I found myself just hitting the air snare with ‘beast’ drummer Lee Pearson, marvelling at the fluidity of pianists Geoffrey Keezer/Rachel Eckroth or the double bass of Reggie Hamilton. All were given time to showcase their talents while Botti waited with eyes closed in the wing, feeling the vibe before choosing his next note.

Like all good things the show came to an end but not without a few songs from amazing singer Sy Smith, her ability to sing and use her soprano capabilities didn’t compromise her soulfulness on Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together while young singer Rafael Moras did a solid job of Andrea Bocelli’s Con Te Partirò, but holding them together was thesuited trumpeter Chris Botti.  His music is a revelation, his playing on another echelon.  Chances are if you missed him this time and if his predictions are spot on, he’ll be back “many, many times”. Here’s hoping his words ring true and he gets to sample more of our wine next visit.