Two words to describe Chris Botti's latest release: ear candy. Or maybe auditory bliss would be a more accurate description? Either way, you get my point - I love this DVD. There are no gimmicks here - this is a beautiful, slickly produced concert that first and foremost showcases Botti's virtuosic trumpet playing (which is heavenly!). Most of the musical selections are culled from his latest studio album, the duets-heavy disc To Love Again (read my review of that album on Amazon). The duets are truly duets in every sense of the word - Botti's playing partners with each vocalist perfectly, and the two work to compliment each other, resulting in first-class performances. My favorite duets performances are Paul Cole singing "My One and Only Love," Renee Olstead singing "Pennies from Heaven" (amazing vocalist!), and Gladys Knight singing "Lover Man" (a fantastic performance, very classy). The weakest vocal is Jill Scott's on "Good Morning Heartache" - I love the studio version, but her vocal improvisation here is somewhat jarring, to say the least - but the song is still a great vehicle for Botti's playing and I love the lyric. Sting also appears for two songs - "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" and "My Funny Valentine" (it's a nice touch when Botti serenades Sting's wife sitting in the audience during the latter number). The program also features some swoon-worthy solos from Botti, especially "Someone to Watch Over Me," "When I Fall In Love," and "One For My Baby." His improvisation on these tracks is absolutely stunning, and the songs provide the perfect showcase for Botti's tremendous talent. The arrangements for all of the tracks sparkle, and it's fun to see and hear Botti and the band cut loose and have some fun with the music. This DVD comes packaged with a bonus CD featuring all the songs from the concert. This is an excellent live recording and a great document of Botti's skill with the trumpet. Now...not to sound (too) impatient or anything, but I am so ready for a new studio album!
A Blue Ridge Biltmore Weekend!
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