by: Magda Katz
Chris Botti and his jazz ensemble delivered a rousing two-hour nonstop performance Friday evening as part of NJ PAC’s November 6th -16th James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival. The exceptional talent of the Botti troupe reset the tone and mood with each new number.
Botti’s talent as a trumpeter ranks him with jazz legends Miles Davis, Maynard Ferguson and Louis Armstrong. He is a poised, engaging showman who generously showcases each member of his band and encourages them to radiate and share his fame.
Botti began the evening showcasing gifted violinist, Caroline Campbell, who transcends her classical training to expand the boundaries of jazz. Botti and soprano jazz diva, Sy Smith, descended into the audience to match trumpet and vocal high C’s and pose for selfies with delighted fans. Botti then accompanied tenor George Komsky in a rich, romantic rendition of “Time To Say Goodbye.”
No jazz concert is complete without the mandatory drum solo, and Billy Kilson did not disappoint. Kilson rocked the house with a remarkable riff reminiscent of Gene Krupa and Louis Belson. Guitarist Ben Butler, Richie Goods on bass and Taylor Eigsti on piano climaxed the evening with outstanding solos.
Photos: Magda Katz