Chris Botti at The Blue Note - Will's New York Nite Life

Chris Botti at The Blue Note

Chris Botti at The Blue Note

By: Will Friedwald

The Blue Note
131 W. 3rd Street, (212) 475-8592
Through Saturday January 8

Chris Botti has to be the only trumpeter currently active for whom audiences will wait for an hour in the January rain and then cram themselves into the Blue Note for his annual gig-a-thon holiday residency (two shows a day for 28 days straight, without a day off). Mr. Botti plays real jazz – often there’s a veneer of smoothness on the top of it, but at the core underneath he can spin genuinely abstract improvisations – using a brass tone that has been prettified with reverb to create electronically-enhanced vibrato. His repertory combines jazz with copious amounts of pop standards (as in a haunting rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”) and classical warhorses (as in a dramatic interpretation of the “Concierto de Aranjuez” that opens the show). He’s also assembled a compatible cast of jazz and classical musicians, like the brilliant piano and bass team of Geoffrey Keezer and Richie Goods, and the stunning violinist Caroline Campbell, who fiddles with the furious energy of one possessed. It adds up to a fabulously entertaining set, - a true variety show combining everything from opera to soul music, along with comedy stemming from his interplay with the musicians and the crowd - and it’s easy to see why the crowds keep coming back for 12 years in a row now.

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL & VANITY FAIR, and reviews current shows for THE OBSERVER and THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of eight books including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, October 2017)

SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU - NEW REVISED EDITION (Chicago Review Press, May 2018)