Two Chrises, Two Sounds, One Great Night at the Hollywood Bowl
More than 90 years after its opening, the Hollywood Bowl remains a summertime treat. There’s nothing more fun than to take a picnic to the Bowl to hear great music in the outdoors. With the help of the L.A. Philharmonic all styles blend together, showing connections not obvious on the surface.
Last weekend’s headliners served to illustrate the Bowl’s ability to meld styles. First up was a set from jazz trumpeter Chris Botti. His set mixed lush orchestrations (with the help of the L.A. Phil) and some smokin’ jazz solos. The drummer in his band was especially good. This concert allowed him space to show his jazz bonafides. Following him to the stage was singer Chris Isaak. The self-deprecating singer-songwriter led his band Silvertone and the orchestra on a mini-tour of the styles he has mastered: rockabilly, crooning ballads and tunes that tell a story. For good measure, he walked through the audience, shaking hands while never missing a beat of the song. Once Isaak’s set was done, Chris Botti returned. While both men’s styles resonated with the crowd they do not look to go together very well.
The evening’s biggest surprise was hearing Botti find his place in Isaak’s songs. Their cover of Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” was a real treat. Isaak also displayed the humor that has been a constant in his career, asking the crowd after one Botti solo how impressive it was that a man who smokes five packs of cigarettes a day could blow a trumpet that well. Unlike most Bowl concerts I’ve attended in the recent past, there was no encore, planned or otherwise. The audience was left with memories of yet another smooth blending of disparate musical styles into an entertaining whole. The Hollywood Bowl had done it again.
– Louis Burklow (aka, Hollywood Country Boy), Staff Writer, Phoenix Genesis
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