Director’s Chair: Chris Botti leaves fans with something to remember |

Director’s Chair: Chris Botti leaves fans with something to remember

Kris Sabel is the executive director of the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
Zach Mahone | Special to the Daily |

There’s a reason Chris Botti is making his fourth appearance in 10 years at the Vilar Performing Arts Center this week: he’s just downright good and fans continue to ask when they get to see him in concert again. When we have an artist play the hall who is so well-received and perfect for the intimacy and acoustics of the venue, we want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to experience a truly fantastic performance. Botti is constantly recording new albums and exploring beyond the boundaries of jazz, so there is always something new to experience at one of his concerts.

The American trumpeter and composer has made an indelible impression on the jazz world. In the past 15 years, his recorded music, tours and featured performances with symphony orchestras across the country have made his name synonymous with romantic music and smooth jazz.

Botti’s music, with notes that float gently through the air and wrap themselves around your mind, captures the hearts of fans with his melodic, powerful trumpet, soothing even the most weary soul. You emerge from his concert uplifted, relaxed, and mesmerized. We’re pleased to welcome Botti and his band back tonight at 7:30 p.m. This concert is co-presented by the Vilar Performing Arts Center and the Vail Jazz Foundation.

If this is your first opportunity to see Botti, be prepared for an evening combining incredible musicianship, sultry vocals, his great sense of humor and a set list that will truly engage you from the first downbeat.

For those who are hearing me say jazz music and thinking, “Oh, I don’t like jazz,” please read on. If you’ve enjoyed concerts by artists such as Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Kenny G, and Jaimee Paul, you will absolutely love this concert. A combination of Botti’s original compositions along with some of the most beloved jazz and pop songs ever written, this music is arranged to showcase his amazing trumpet and the talents of his musicians. Some of his audience favorites include “Moondance,” “Indian Summer,” “The Look of Love” and “My Funny Valentine,” to name only a few.


As a collaborator, Botti has worked with some of the best in the business. He began his career working extensively with Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and Sting, artists who gave him an understanding of how to create his own successful career. On his albums he has collaborated with a artists including Burt Bacharach, Gladys Knight, Jill Scott, Renee Olstead, Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, Josh Groban, Katharine McPhee, John Mayer and Steven Tyler.

In February, Botti and producer Bobby Colomby won the Best Pop Instrumental Album Grammy Award for “Impressions.” As Botti began planning for the new album, he was determined to do some “familiar songs” that reached back to his fascination with the melody and balladry that have been essential to his music since he first picked up a trumpet. Songs such as “What a Wonderful World,” “Summertime” and “Over the Rainbow” certainly fulfill that desire. But the album’s far-ranging program also encompasses many other areas, deeply influenced by conversations Botti had with fans during the busy, world-wide touring that keeps him on the road as much as 300 days per year. “Impressions” is a great album, and I encourage you to check it out. I am anxious to see what he will perform from this album for our concert on Thursday evening.

Like all successful people, Botti has surrounded himself with great talent, and his band members are nothing short of that. Billy Kilso, drums; Richie Goods, bass; Leonardo Amuedo, guitar; Geoffrey Keezer, piano; Andy Ezrin, keyboards; Sy Smith, vocals; George Komsky and Serena McKinney, violin, create a flood of captivating music that will wind through the VPAC all evening. You can also look forward to some compelling solos from these talented musicians. Join us and fall in love all over again, all night long, with the music, melodies and mind of Botti, the consummate jazz and pop musician.

I hope you can join us for an extraordinary evening of great music.

Kris Sabel is the executive director of the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

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