Jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, currently on tour with saxophonist David Sanborn, has been dropping by local PBS affiliates including New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, and the New Jersey State network - to help support his current PBS Pledge Drive Special, "Chris Botti Live with Orchestra & Special Guests" Funds raised during the debut broadcasts of Botti's concert special are rivaling the totals generated by some of PBS Pledge Drives' most popular musical events.
The March 7th New York premiere of "Chris Botti Live with Orchestra & Special Guests" raised more than $100K in pledges and matching grants over the course of 90 minutes. New York's Channel 13 has scheduled several repeat broadcasts during the next two weeks.
In Boston (where the special played four times over the course of 48 hours), the first night of the Botti broadcast drew high pledges despite running against the highly-rated competitive "American Idol." The New Jersey State broadcast did similarly well, even though it ran against the Oscars. In recent years, the PBS Pledge Drive Specials have served as bellwether events, helping to establish mainstream visibility for top caliber musical artists including Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, and Charlotte Church.
"Chris Botti Live with Orchestra & Special Guests, " shot December 1 and 2, 2005, over a Thursday-Friday run at LA's fabled Wilshire Theatre, inspired the Los Angeles Times Don Heckman to write, "It was apparent, from the first notes Chris Botti played at the Wilshire Theatre on Friday, that the sold-out house was in for a special evening.... Botti's latest album, 'To Love Again' -- as well as the previously released 'When I Fall In Love' -- features extraordinary lineups of vocal guest artists. Six showed up for the concert -- Sting, Jill Scott, Paula Cole, Renee Olstead, Paul Buchanan and Gladys Knight -- along with Burt Bacharach...despite the inevitable audience excitement generated by the appearance of such vocal headliners and despite the artists' diversity of interpretations, it was Botti's virtuosic trumpet work, his inventive melody-making, his engaging onstage presence and his powerful band ...that ruled the evening..."
A special DVD edition of "Chris Botti Live with Orchestra & Special Guests" is being made available exclusively through PBS during the network's Pledge Drive (tune in to your local PBS affiliate for details). A full concert version of "Chris Botti Live with Orchestra & Special Guests" is slated for DVD release later.
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