Berks Jazz Fest 2010: Chris Botti

Friday night, the 20th annual Berks Jazz Festival was kicked off at the Sovereign Center in Reading, PA by trumpet player Chris Botti. He appeared with his incredible band featuring Billy Childs on piano, James Genus on bass, Billy Kilson on drums, Mark Whitfield on guitar and Andy Ezrin on keyboards. First song was "Ave Maria", the well controlled and subtle sound of Botti's trumpet was stunning, then they segued into their trademark track that features every member of the band, especially Billy Kilson was able to show what an extraordinary drummer he is. Unfortunately they were forced to open the show without Mark Whitfield who was held up due to some personal reasons, but joined the band soon after the beginning of the concert, jumping right into the proceedings with a great solo during Miles Davis' "Flamenco Sketches". Special guest of the show was singer Lisa Fischer (who is also known as longtime background vocalist of the Rolling Stones and the late Luther Vandross), she showed an incredible vocal range and had a good time with the band performing "The Look Of Love", "The Very Thought Of You" and others. Later Botti slowed down the pace with Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and Ennio Morricone's "Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso", both songs having become staples of his show. After a couple of more energetic songs with some funk and rock quotes (letting both Kilson and Whitfield off the chain), they concluded the show with an unplugged song with Chris Botti in the audience, just accompanied by Billy Childs on the piano, ending another top-notch concert by a consummate artist and world-class band.