Tim Van Schmidt
It was a blazing hot summer day in Fort Collins, but trumpet master Chris Botti cooled things down a little in the evening at the Gardens on Spring Creek on July 9.
It started with jazz, the cool, smooth sound that Botti, recognized as the top-selling instrumental artist in America, is often associated with. On his instrument, Botti’s tone is polished, floating like a bird high in the air.
But that was only the beginning. From smooth jazz to standards to some hot jazz jamming; Miles Davis music to Leonard Cohen music; from some crowd-rousing, Led Zeppelin to a stunning sequence of opera music to rock and soul, Botti and the band kept the music diverse and interesting throughout the show. This wasn’t just a jazz concert.
To underscore that diversity, Botti augmented his four-piece band with special guests on vocals, violin, and sax. Nearly each tune had a different band configuration. Guests included super charismatic violinist Caroline Campbell and saxman Andy Snitzer.
With so much going on, Botti spent some time on the side of the stage throughout the show and his face told it all — he seemed to be digging everything these handpicked musicians were doing and he had the best seat in the house.
Still, that didn’t stop him from taking his trumpet out into the middle of the audience for a moving version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or to lead the crowd in a sing-along to a Louis Armstrong-inspired version of “What a Wonderful World”.
This was only the second show I have seen at Gardens on Spring Creek and I am impressed. The sound was fine and we even managed to get there early enough to snag some shade. Best of all, we didn’t have to drive to Denver or elsewhere for a quality show. That makes Gardens on Spring Creek a great new venue in the NOCO live music scene.
Upcoming Gardens on Spring Creek dates include a sold-out show by classic rock hit makers Three Dog Night on August 7. Percussion master Stewart Copeland plays “Police Deranged” with the Fort Collins Symphony on September 17 and Angelique Kidjo performs at Gardens on Spring Creek on September 25.
Live Music: Boyz II Men will be appearing with the Colorado Symphony at Fiddler’s Green on July 22. The Tedeschi Trucks Band plays Red Rocks on July 29-30, with openers Los Lobos. Steve Earle and the Dukes perform at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder on August 3 and Les Claypool will be joined by Stanton Moore, Mike Dillon, and Skerik at the Boulder Theater on August 5.
NOCO Shows: On July 27, the Wendy Woo Band plays the Lagoon Summer Concert Series at CSU. On July 28, the Dale Cisek Band plays the Foote Lagoon Amphitheatre in Loveland. Ozomatli will be at Washington’s on July 30 and The Iguanas will be at Old Town Square on August 4.
Art: At the Museum of Art Fort Collins, “A Culture Preserved (in the Black Experience)”, curated by Louise Cutler, opens on July 29 and runs through October 16. Coming up at MoA: Picasso as Printmaker” starting on October 28.
New at the Loveland Museum: Dena Peterson’s “Finding Abstraction”, which runs through September 25. More at the Loveland Museum: Julie Bender’s “Pyrography-Painting with Heat”, which also runs through September 25.
Visit “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt” on YouTube.