Tuneage Tutelage - Album Review - Chris Botti

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Down to three...Giles, Shawn & Melissa battled it out last night on the dance floor with the Paso Doble and the always interesting freestyle, which has been considered the make-or-break dance in previous season...and which professional will be selected as the new pro for next season?

For me, the show is not over until I head over and visit TRAVIS of "Trav's Thoughts", because NO ONE does a DWTS recap like our buddy Travis...

Take a magnificent venue, say the Symphony Hall in Boston, MA, add the masterful trumpet of Mr. Chris Botti, stir in the Boston Pops Orchestra under the baton of Mr. Keith Lockhart and for good measure sprinkle the vocal stylings of Sting, Josh Grobin, Steven Tyler, John Mayer and Katherine McPhee (yeah, I know), and for good measure add a dash of Yo-Yo Ma and what you end up with is a spectacular new CD;

Chris Botti In Boston.
Recorded live on September 18th and 19th, 2008.

I received the CD the other day and have been listening to it over and over. The CD opens with the Boston Pops string section and the crowd applauds as Mr. botti walks to the stage and then, along with pianist Billy Childs they perform a stirring version of "Ave Maria". Mr. Botti's trumpet just soars and he holds notes beautifully.

Besides the Pops, Mr. Botti is backed by a band of Childs on piano, Mark Whitfield on guitar, Robert Hurst on bass and Billy Kilson on drums.

The band joins the rest for the beautiful upbeat version of "When I Fall In Love", the trumpet of Mr. Botti taking the vocal lines.

The first musical guest arrives in the form of Sting to perform his own composition, "Seven Days". Also joining them is Dominic Miller on guitar. They even dabble in "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" toward the end of the performance as Mr. Botti rips the scales on the trumpet and Sting responds in song. have always enjoyed Seven Days, but this is now my favorite version of the song. The band is right there and the Pops adds that special touch.

Violinist Lucia Micarelli is featured on "Emmanuel". In a word she is absolutely brilliant.

OK, now...truth be told, when I was listening the first time I had not read the liner notes. I knew Sting appeared with Mr. Botti and others, but I did not know who. I did not hear the introduction, but then listened to a terrific version of the song "I've Got You Under My Skin"...ummmm who was the vocalist? NO NO, not her!

I guess the Boston Pops and Mr. Botti can make anyone sound good! Mark Whitfield is also featured on guitar and makes the crowd come alive.

Next up is the theme song from the movie "Cinema Paradiso" featuring Yo-Yo Ma on cello. The two masters trade turns, intertwine their instruments and just let the world fade away.

Josh Grobin climbs the stage to sing his song "Broken Vow". I am not a huge fan, but it sounded good.

The Mile Davis classic "Flamenco Sketches" follows. This would have been amazing to see and hear live. The entire band is given a chance to show his stuff and they all did just that! Robert Hurst on bass is featured in the middle and he is just flying over the frets.

Then we get the favorite singer of TURNBABY from "As As The World Turns"...Mr. John Mayer! Sorry Turn..smooch...performing the Richards/Hart composition "Glad To be Unhappy". IF you like Mayer, as I do --- as a singer, not as a human ok? - you will enjoy this song.

Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" follows with just Mr. Botti on trumpet and Mark Whitfield on guitar. This is one big song but the two artists cover us with a wall of sound that comes from the simplicity of the notes they play. Lightly in the background the Pops string section adds a ground layer for the song to emerge from.

Boston's own Steven Tyler then takes to the stage for the Chaplin/Parsons/Phillips song "Smile". He dedicates the song to his dad, who is in the audience, in a touching gesture.

This is not the Steven Tyler you know. He proves his place in the annals of singers - not necessarily rock singers. I liked the variation to the song given by Steven's raspy vocals.

Back onto the stage is Sting and Dominic Miller to perform Sting's "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You". Having lived in the Boston area for 5 years I have had the pleasure of seeing the Pops live and I always found them the most fun when they are out of their 'element'. Playing rock and roll is one of those times.

As I am listening to this, I can visualize the entire Pops Orchestra grooving along, the horns swinging from side to side...full on fun.

The CD closes with "Time To Say Goodbye". As someone who was not familiar with Mr. Botti before listening to this CD, I can say that for me...Mr. Bottti, it is time to say HELLO.

I am torn between trying to post something from this, but since it is through my friends at Sony/BMG Columbia Records - thanks Arbell!...I will refrain.

But, I will send the CD to the person who makes the best case...This is a winner.

This week on Dr. Blogstein’s
Radio Happy Hour

Charlaine Harris is the best selling author of the incredibly Sookie Stackhouse series revolving around a telepathic barmaid in southern Louisiana and her dealings with vampires and werewolves and other creatures of the night.

Her books are the inspiration and basis for HBO’s True Blood.

Harris’ newest book in the series, Dead and Gone, is on sale now.

May 19, 2009 @ 9 PM ET

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Blind comedian Brian Fischler returns to the program to
update us from Guide Dog Training School.

The one-time Maxim Magazine Comedian of the Month is the Founder/President of Comedians Unite For Sight, a not for profit that produces Laugh For Sight, a yearly comedy benefit that raises money for retinal degenerative eye diseases.

We uncover the music of “Larry Loeber.”

Who is Larry Loeber, you ask? That was the stage name our own Justin the Mouthinator went by during the 80’s when he was an international pop performer.

This is something long time listeners wont want to miss!

All that, plus:
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12 Of Your Sparks

  1. Matt-Man Says:
  2. Sookie Stackhouse? Frankly, that name sounds made up. Cheers Vinny!!

  3. ...at the risk of sounding a little "light in the loafers" I must admit that "When I Fall In Love" is one spectacular melody and I would love to hear it done with Mr. Botti's trumpet...

  4. Turnbaby Says:
  5. For the record--I could not care less about John Mayer as a person--not interesting to me one way or another. The music he puts out is 'meh' to me.

  6. Travis Says:
  7. Sounds like quite the musical line up.

    And check it: Shawn did more than enough last night to get the votes and sneak out a win. Melissa's fanbase has kept her in it all season. But Gilles is the overall best and most versatile dancer.

    It's going to be close.

  8. Bond Says:
  9. MATT-MAN: She is humma humma hot though Matt

    PHFRANKIE: No worries it is a fantastic melody...

    TURNBABY: I KNOW THAT...meh...yup, have heard it before! LOL

    TRAVIS: It certainly is. I agree Shawn certainly jumped ahead of Melissa last night. The voters will decide in the end because the judges will score all of them equally tonight - unless someone falls over, or does something spectacular.

  10. Patti Says:
  11. Ah, The Boston Pops - that brings back memories. Saw them several times, once at Tanglewood. Have you ever been there? I'd love to go back, and just ignore the snobby types. haha

  12. Actually, Sookie Stackhouse IS a made up name. Its fiction. All the names are made up, no?

  13. Bond Says:
  14. PATTI: Have not been there...but I have heard of the snooty-ness

    DOC: umm he was kidding... bwahahahaha

  15. busy91 Says:
  16. I love the 'True Blood' picture dude.
    Of course I would expect no less a picture from you.

    I want to give you an award, but am not sure where you would fit it on your page, but if you want it, it is on my blog for you and here is the link if it works.


  17. Mimi Lenox Says:
  18. And I was humming right along with Ma and Maher, having a lovely time here on the Big Leather Couch when suddenly I ran smack dab into a crazy looking vampire-thing standing behind a naked woman.

    I really need medication now.
    I'm done here!
    And I thought I knew you.....ack!

  19. Dana Says:
  20. Can I throw my 13 year old in the hat for a sympathy vote?? No! Really! I would like to throw him most days ...

    You know my dear Cam is a HUBE John Mayer fan, but did you know he is and oboe and piano player to? I have no doubt that Chris Botti In Boston would be a secret favorite of his - one of those CD's he plays as he is drifting off to sleep, then hides when his buddies come over.

    And ... I could steal it on occasion too!

  21. Bond Says:
  22. MIMI: You will be back....

    DANA: OOO a late contestant enters the ring...Thanks for the feedback


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