December 2005. Los Angeles, California. Trumpeter Chris Botti, on the heels of his break-through gold certified album "When I Fall In Love," and the record-breaking follow-up, "To Love Again," plays two triumphant shows a... more »t the Wilshire Theatre backed by a full orchestra and his virtuosic band. Playing repertoire mostly culled from these two hit albums, Chris is joined onstage by some of the world?s most accomplished singers and musicians (in order of appearance): Sting, Jill Scott, Paula Cole, Burt Bacharach, Renee Olstead, Paul Buchanan, and Gladys Knight. The show is filmed for the PBS special, "Chris Botti Live with orchestra & special guests?and this DVD. "A passionate evening of instrumental storytelling?it was apparent from the first notes Chris Botti played at the Wilshire Theatre on Friday, that the sold-out house was in for a special evening." -Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times Almost one full hour of bonus features? with backstage footage and exclusive interviews.« less
Mark Blackburn | Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada | 04/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After this magic night in L.A. with an all-star cast of guest vocalists, Chris Botti took the show on the road -- minus the great singers -- and on five consecutive nights stopped in as many Canadian cities, including this one. The all-instrumental show was, to my memory, even better (than this original show) because of the extended solos by Chris himself and his brilliant, accompanying musicians.
Botti told his Winnipeg audience that, when he toured with Sting, he was urged to "find yourself the best drummer in the world - and make him the heart of your band."
"So I Googled," he said, "for 'The baddest- *ss drummer in the world,' and up came the name Billy Kilson." Then Botti told us: "What you are about to see, you will not believe." He wasn't exaggerating. The drum solo (I forget the tune -- doesn't matter) was beyond any musical experience I've witnessed since Oscar Peterson last performed here 20 years ago.
I turned to the person next to me and said, "This is like watching a god." At one point Billy Kilson was performing with just one hand, multiple rhythms, with alternating shadings so subtle it sounded like he was using brushes, not sticks.
The entire band stood out in the front lobby of our "Burton Cummings Theatre" and signed autographs until every last patron had gone out into that good night. I wanted to talk to other members of this all star band, comprised of Grammy-winners, including pianist Billy Childs and guitarist Mark Whitfield. Instead, I went straight for Bill Kilson.
"Who are your heroes?" Billy thought about it a minute, (he has a modest, gentle demeanor) and said, "My teacher" (a lesser-known jazz drummer - but an influential artist whose name I can't recall six months later). When he'd mentioned just that one name, I asked: "Anyone else?"
"Max Roach," he said.
The solo Kilson performs on this DVD is impressive enough; but after seeing him 'in person' on a more extended solo, I would urge jazz fans to find a way to see Billy Kilson "live and in person," -- and be prepared to re-arrange your personal pantheon of greatest-ever drummers! Good to see that the Amazon.com editorial review (above) mentions his name and the word "remarkable" in the same sentence!
The "bonus track" on this DVD concert, also happened to be Chris Botti's lone 'encore' here in Winnipeg -- a gorgeous rendition of the Arlen/Mercer classic written for Frank Sinatra. The trumpeter told us: "I worked with Sinatra for two weeks at the start of my career -- when I was fresh out of college!" It was, he said, "the greatest musical experience of my life"
For the Winnipeg audience that gave him a standing ovation, his performance of "One for My Baby" -- ALONE -- was worth the price of admission! "
Anthony Moore | Oakland | 03/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I always make fun of my friends who think their hip because they listen to smooth jazz. They drop names like Rick Braun, Kenny G and Norman Brown in the same sentences as Coltrane, Miles, Coleman and Ellington like there's no difference. Don't get me wrong- I like smooth jazz too- for what it is and what it isn't. That being said, I just watched the Chris Botti special on PBS during pledge and I am impressed with Chris Botti. Yeah, I knew he did the regular smooth jazz stuff. But he can actually play.This DVD chronicles an evening with the London Orchestra. He and his guest show remarkable range as they explore jazz standards and a couple of pop songs. I especially enjoyed Good Morning Heartache with Jill Scott and Pennies from Heaven with Renee Olstead (who the heck is that... trust me she can "SANG" !!!). I listened to ths using my Harmon Kardon's Hall setting and it sounded pretty good but no cigar. I can't wait to watch this with the 5.1 mix on the DVD. All in all this is a nice DVD to have that showcases a smooth jazz stallworth bluring the lines to straight ahead jazz. I will certainily add this to my collection."
R.S. | USA | 03/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I happened to catch most of this special on PBS the other night. What a lovely concert! Not at all boring. The chemistry between Chris and his guests is so apparent during their duets. You can totally feel that Chris' trumpet is an extension of him; it's his voice and, coupled with a talented singer, is truly a treat for the eyes and ears. I was a little disappointed with Paula Cole's rendition of The Look of Love; she sounded kind of like she was sick and was a little off-key. Other than that, she has a beautiful voice. But the best performance that I saw, the one that brought me to my feet, was JILL SCOTT. I have no words for how stunning her performance was. It was not a sad, slow song but it brought tears to my eyes because she was so phenomenal. She brought down the house! Sting was so-so and Paul Buchanan was so-so. I am sorry that I missed Gladys Knight. Renee Olstead has an incredible voice (esp. for someone so young) but the song she sang did not do her much justice. All in all, the concert was great- I wish I had been there. I can not wait for the DVD to come out!"
Truly a night to remember...
Bruce Laidlaw | Ventura, CA USA | 03/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I, too, was at the Friday night concert. I took a very special lady friend to see this show as it was her birthday that day as well. To say that we both came away from that evening impressed would be a gross understatement!! It was, without a doubt, THE best concert I have seen in years. Chris was noticeably shaky in front of the camera, but, when he played it was pure perfection!! Backed by the London Session Orchestra, his own band which includes Billy Kilson on drums and Billy Childs on piano (both awesome musicians), and a host of celebrities from Sting to Burt Bacarach that appeared on his new CD "To Love Again", Chris had the Wilshire Theatre rockin'!! Chris' horn playing and the whole evening was a standout performance and I am so glad that the DVD is finally available (I ordered three tonight) and I hope this DVD does the concert justice. I will watch the PBS special (enduring all the pledge breaks I am sure) this Friday night here in L.A., but I can't wait to fire this up at home and relive every sweet second of that night, it was truly an night to remember and it will never be forgotten. Oh yeah, my lady friend thought it was the best birthday present ever !!"
A fine alternative to being there...
Otto Kubik | Los Angeles, CA | 07/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Too often, there are great concerts that get missed, because of a limited crowd or engagement. This is not one of them. My wife and I attended this concert, and lived through the flaws that were edited out. Nothing wrong with the performances, all the issues were accoustic or technical in nature.
What you see here in the edited version is easily the best of the best... I saw this on HD TV several months ago, and have a copy saved. I am looking forward to replacing it with a DVD with behind the scenes footage.
THIS IS A GREAT CONCERT, that deserves special recognition. A must for any Jazz collection! The incredible warmth of the performances is perfectly documented, and seem to come alive in your living/media room. Don't miss it!"