Chris Botti In Boston, Blu-ray (2009)
Performers; Chris Botti, trumpet; Boston Pops cond. by Keith Lockhart; Sting, Yo-Yo Ma, Josh Groban, John Mayer, Katharine McPhee, Lucia Micarelli, Steven Tyler, Dominic Miller, Sy Smith
Program: Ave Maria, When I Fall in Love, Caruso, Seven Days featuring Sting, Broken Vow featuring Josh Groban, Sketches, Hallelujah, I’ve Got You Under My Skin featuring Katharine McPhee, Cinema Paradiso featuring Yo-Yo Ma, The Look of Love featuring Sy Smith, Emmanuel featuring Lucia Micarelli, Glad to Be Unhappy featuring John Mayer, featuring Steven Tyler, Smile featuring Steven Tyler, Indian Summer, Shape of My Heart featuring Sting & Josh Groban, If I Ever Lose My Faith in You featuring Sting, Time to Say Goodbye
Studio: Columbia Records
Video: 16:9 color 1080 HD
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (96K/24-bit), DD 5.1, PCM stereo (48K/24-bit)
Extras: “Behind the Scenes of Chris Botti in Boston” (40 min.)
Length: 160 minutes
This live concert was recorded over two nights last September in Boston’s famed Symphony Hall and was recently a special fund-raiser on PBS stations. But it wasn’t presented there with the highest 1080 resolution or lossless Dolby TrueHD surround as this Blu-ray, although it did have all those wonderful public TV fund-raising breaks. This Blu-ray reminded me of the David Foster And Friends DVD+CD we recently received. (Both concerts shared Josh Groban and Katharine McPhee as guests.) Frankly, none of our writers have been interested in reviewing that one, and neither was I. But I slipped the Chris Botti concert in the player as soon as it arrived. The music, performances and general production are all on a higher plane.
Botti has a delicious timbre to his trumpet and is especially good at the quieter soulful ballads. He’s also great-looking and a very likeable fellow. He’s rated as a jazz trumpeter, but has moved some distance out of that genre in most of his performances. This concert is obviously not intended just for jazz fans. In between his classic trumpet solos – accompanied by the Boston Pops – he brings in his various guests who usually do just one tune apiece. Botti first came to public attention as an opener for Sting, and it is evidently thru the British singer’s assistance that this Boston concert came about. The list of guest performers is a long one, and all of them are superb, including even a vocalist who happens to be the cousin of Botti’s guitarist. Katherine McPhee comes to fame from American Idol and Steven Tyler is a rock singer from the band Aerosmith. Tyler, in complete rock regalia and long stringy hair, does two songs from the front of the thrust stage with his father copping a deer-in-the-headlights look from his seat in the front row.
The only real jazz selection is Miles’ Flamenco Sketches, for which colorful music the hi-def screen image goes to black and white for some reason. Yo-Yo Ma solos with Botti on the theme from the film Cinema Paradiso, and Botti is joined by violinist Lucia Micarelli in the emotional Emmanuel. Botti takes rather long verbal introductions to some of the selections, which could get tiresome on repeat viewings of the concert and contributes to its excessive length. Aside from my lack of personal interest in most of the vocal selections, that’s the only negative I could point out to the concert. It is spectacularly well done and with demonstration-quality image and surround sonics.
– John Sunier