Tag Archives: guitar

Chris Botti and Company Bring a Musical Explosion

The grammy award-winning trumpeter shows Champaign-Urbana his talents

Written by Edward Huang

Botti with his band of young talents performing a lively jazz mashup

On a calm Saturday night, the guests of Krannert Center for Performing Arts waited eagerly for the appearance of Chris Botti, the renowned trumpeter, to make his way onto the stage. I watched as he made his entrance, but I was caught off by the number of other musicians that he brought along with him. As an appreciator of all music styles, I was excited to see what they had in store.

Chris Botti takes a break to allow his band to show off their talents

I would have to say that my favorite part of the performance was when the band played with Anastasiia Mazurok, the violinist. I had always thought of trumpets, drums, and basses to be separate from more classical instruments like the violin. If someone told me that they would sound good together, I would have been very skeptical. However, I was delighted to find that the band performing with a violin was not only good, it was spectacular. The stringed instrument blended in so well with the soft background of the accompaniment, creating a song that was nothing short of beautiful.

The bassist takes center stage, showing his musical versatility with the electric guitar

I thought that Chris Botti’s trumpet playing proved that he deserved the recognition he got. I had seen a few brass performances before, but nothing was as dominant as I saw from him. His playing demanded the attention of everyone in the room, fluctuating between powerful riffs and soft, subtle melodies. The band that he chose complimented him very well–each instrument with a distinct style but always coming together in a soulful symphony. Towards the second half of the show, he brought in a saxophone player as well as a vocalist. I was absolutely amazed by the amount of musical diversity they put together. Even with these additions, the music blended in so well, almost like a smooth mixture of “chocolate jazz”.

When I left Krannert that night, I looked up at the sky and said to myself: “Man, I love music so much.” This performance really revitalized my appreciation for the arts. I hope that I can see something like that again soon.

Chris Botti: The Power of Jazz

Written by Ashleigh Cox

Chris Botti watches the drummer play

On September 14th, Chris Botti performed at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts with a group of talented jazz musicians. The powerful music filled Tryon Festival Center and took a variety of tempos, tones, and styles to transform this performance into something special.

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Chris Botti – The Trumpet Master!

Wai Chuen Chan

Chris Botti performed a series of Jazz with his band at Night in Krannert Center.

On September 14, Chris Botti featuring Lee Pearson, Reggie Hamilton, Leonardo Amuedo, Holger Marjamaa, Andy Snitzer, Anastasiia Mazurok, Sy Smith, and Rafael Moras, performed a series of Jazz music including Botti’s album with diverse musical instruments at Tryon Festival Theatre in Krannert Center.

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Buddy Guy Brings Back the Blues

Legendary blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy wows the crowd at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Written by Danielle Herrera

Stage and auditorium before the start of the performance

On September 7th, 2019 I had the opportunity to attend the performance of Buddy Guy, I man who (after a quick google search) I learned was a famous blues artist. I’ve never listened to any of Guy’s albums or songs, but I’ve always loved live performances so I was excited regardless. Little did I know, this performance would open me up to new perspectives of music.

First off, let me just start by saying that I am a huge R&B fan. I love the emotional aspect of music and listening to beats that amplify the mood of the song, whether it be pain, lust, or joy. As expected, Buddy Guy’s musicianship was extremely impressive and the overall instrumentals of his songs were catchy and upbeat. However, the aspect that really threw me off guard was his singing. Buddy Guy’s voice has a raspy, deep sound that is both nostalgic and unique to now. You can physically hear the amount of wisdom and experience this man has just through his vocals, making it perfect for the historic genre of blues.

Although Buddy Guy is a renown singer and musician, he made sure that the spotlight was not always on him; lengthy showcases of the guitarist’s runs or the pianist’s swift improvisations shined a light on the rest of the instrumentalists’ insane talent. I personally was in awe of Buddy Guy’s pianist; having played in a number of different concerts and performances, I know how difficult it can be to improvise blues/jazz on the spot in front of such a large group of people.

Instrumentalists and Buddy Guy performing onstage

In addition, there were a number of quirky acts performed by Buddy Guy that showcased not only his sense of humor, but also his skills as a musician. At some points Guy would be playing the guitar by hitting it against his chest, or by smacking it with a towel. Either way, these moments kept the audience lighthearted and waiting for more.

The greatest aspect of this performance, I think, is the way Buddy Guy interacted with the crowd. Like other artists, he encouraged audience members to sing along with his more famous songs in a call-and-response manner. However, he also did something that I’ve never seen before: mid-concert, Buddy Guy calls for the auditorium lights to turn onto the audience. In that sense, Guy forcibly moves the attention from him to us. This was something I’ve never seen before, and it made me feel like it was our turn now to perform. Buddy guy then proceeded to walk into the audience, singing and interacting with all of us. This act provided a sense of togetherness that I have never felt before when attending a performance; it was like we were all finally on the same level, just enjoying the song and rhythm. Audience members were dancing and singing, and almost everyone was on their feet. It was a scene that could never be replicated exactly the same ever again.

Buddy Guy interacting and walking amongst the audience

Overall, Buddy Guy’s performance is something that in my mind could never be replicated ever again. The musicality, emotion and sound were one of a kind, and if I had the chance I would for sure relive the experience once again.

For more information on Buddy Guy’s performance, follow the link below: https://krannertcenter.com/events/buddy-guy

First Night at Krannert

An introductory experience to UIUC’s beloved performing arts center via the Ellnora Festival.

Extra Credit by Allison Spillane

A band setup for the exciting Ellnora Festival

I was very excited to be invited by my FAA 110 professors to this event. To get a lay of such a wonderful performance venue brimming with passion is always a fun experience. The turnout for the opening of the Guitar Fest truly shows how many people out there truly support the arts!

A lovely face painting area for young and old alike!!

I was not disappointed by this event in the slightest. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. My favorite part would have to be the general energy of a Krannert Festival. I have always been partial to events like this, with tons of people all enjoying themselves, the scent of great food wafting through the air, and tons of talented musicians to stop and listen to for a while. This was by far an exception to that preference.

A delightful set by Toko Telo

When it comes to artists that performed at the event, I would have to admit that I am rather fond of Toko Telo. I had never heard of the Madagascar-based group before that night, but I am unlikely to forget the name! There is something special about music in where, even if you don’t understand the language of the lyrics, you can still feel the soul of the song. The lead singer of the group introduced each song and the topic of its lyrics before each piece, and it was always astounding to me how I didn’t need that introduction to absorb the emotions of the song. Listening to their music in the fair weather of the amphitheater as the sun set was a treat I refuse to take for granted.

I Have a Side Eye with “Side Eye”👀

Written by Bria Thurman

I lost the ticket maybe 20 minutes after receiving it from Dr.Collins.

My first live musical performance……was……


September 6th, 2019 – my 18th birthday- I went to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to watch Pat Metheny Side-Eye featuring James Francies and Marcus Gilmore. I have never been very particularly fond of Jazz music. I do have a soft spot for the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong though. On a slow Saturday morning, there is a good chance I am listening to them or Nina Simone whose music has been extremely impactful to my life. Their music has an important place in my heart and in my growth as a musician. On this particular evening, I did not feel any impact, I thought Metheny’s performance was okay. I went in expecting something interesting and new and I left with… well…. a side-eye. I just expected more and wanted more. I feel like all of the songs he played did not leave me satisfied as I feel music is suppose to. The performance was not really a performance and he did not really engage the audience. I was not expecting him to sing or to have rave-like flashing lights. I expected a professional performance and I feel it was more professional than performance.

I loved everything about this stage. It set the tone of comfort and intimacy with the audience.

When I went into the Tryon Festival Theatre I saw an interesting setup and I wanted an explanation for what I saw. The longer I sat looking at the stage the more anticipation I felt. When I looked around at the audience I saw a lot of older men in jeans and black turtlenecks and automatically thought, Steve Jobs must have been a fan. When the concert began Pat Metheny came out on stage and spoke and introduced the audience to James Francies and Marcus Gilmore who played the keyboard and the drums. I thought together their performances did not blend well but when they had their moments to shine in their solos, Metheny included, it allowed the audience to really see their full artistry. All three of them were kind of a weird mix that needed to be better developed.

About an hour and a half in, Methany began to perform solo and that was when I started to spark an interest in the show. The way he played reminded me of the feeling of playing an instrument in a childhood bedroom. That was the moment that felt the most passionate. Throughout the performance I felt the crowd was a little overzealous, clapping every 2 minutes at moments I wasn’t sure was the beginning or end of a song. However, when Methany performed by himself, that was the moment that was most redeemable and deserving of praise in terms of my expectations that may or may not be valid as a non-jazz fan. As he was demonstrating his skill and stature he brought out a 42 string guitar, that as a young guitarist, made me anxious. While writing this I read a little about the types of guitars he played and this was one that was made especially for him. It was very interesting to see an instrument that looked unplayable being played.

Unfortunately, due to prior engagements, I was unable to fully enjoy the festival. At the next festival, I hope to go to a couple of performances.

Overall, I probably won’t go to another Pat Methany performance again. I am not really sure what I heard throughout a great portion of the performance. For a moment, I felt like I was in an elevator and became mindless, just waiting to get off. If this music was Jazz, I am not sure where Billie Holiday would stand within the mix. The most surprising part was how attached he was to the chord progressions. As someone who wants to become a better guitarist, my greatest takeaway was that it was kind of educational. However as a music lover, I am not really sure this performance was geared toward listeners like me. If he would have engaged a little more with the audience I think I would have enjoyed myself somewhat. I kept waiting for more and never got it. 🤔




Experiencing Living History

 Buddy Guy Live at the Ellnora Guitar Festival

by Allison Spillane

an eager crowd waiting for Buddy’s performance

 I was truly excited when arriving at Krannert for Buddy Guy’s performance. His name alone carries a lot of weight. My father was particularly excited when I told him about the event, hyping up this show as a rare experience to see a musical legend play live. The entirety of Krannert Center was buzzing as we awaited the main show.

Many dedicated fans in the audience

What captivated me most about Buddy Guy’s performance was his stage presence. His technical skill and passion were astonishing, but I had never seen someone as in tune with a crowd as this man was. From the first time the crowd botched a call-and-response section of a song, I knew I was in for a wild night. Buddy swore at the audience, disappointed in our meager response section of mumbled lyrics. It was like the first time you hear a teacher swear, it makes the whole experience seem so much more real. Another thing that Buddy did was bring the audience to a place he was comfortable with. He used his experiences and his storytelling to educate the audience on what it was like to be a blues musician – or any kind of person – during the time of his youth. The insight on his background made his music and lyrics that much more effective. However, probably the most memorable thing that Buddy Guy was his stint into the audience. When Buddy Guy moved, so did the audience. It was amazing to see a group of people so captivated that they quite literally unintentionally leaned their whole body in his direction. Like moths to a flame. Buddy Guy held an audience like I’ve never seen.

Buddy Guy at Krannert

Buddy Guy and his band blew away the crowd at Saturday night’s performance!

The neon sign of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts logo

Have you ever been to a show and felt anonymous in the crowd? Well, that’s how it began on September 7th. The lights in Tryon Festival Theater were focused on the stage as we awaited the performer of the night: Buddy Guy. I had never heard of him prior to this show and I did not know what to expect.

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Buddy Guy Performs at UIUC!

By Rachel Yao

Buddy Guy performs live at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the Tryon Festival Theatre (located inside the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) on September 7th, 2019.

Buddy Guy tickets inside Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

For the first event of the semester, I had the chance to see Buddy Guy perform live. When I arrived at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts lobby, I saw numerous people waiting outside. As I entered the theatre, I saw more and more people pouring in to get seated. I sat on the balcony, which provided a nice view of the entire stage, Buddy Guy, and the background musicians.

The people waiting in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts lobby
A clear view from my seat on the balcony before the performance.

My first time seeing Buddy Guy was quite an emotional experience. Throughout the concert, I felt a mix of astonishment and joyfulness. One moment that left me amazed was when Buddy Guy used various objects (drumsticks, towel) to play his guitar. Buddy Guy put his guitar on a speaker to let the vibrations create sound. Then, he laid a towel across the fingerboard, and proceeded to use a drumstick to pluck the strings. I have never seen this unique technique before! In addition, I was also amazed by the switch between smooth and up-beat rhythms, and soft and loud singing. This dynamic made each song performed very engaging and interesting to listen to.

Another unforgettable moment that left me astonished was when Buddy Guy interacted with the crowd by walking off stage and into the audience. At first, Buddy Guy was singing at the center of the stage. Then, on the left side of the stage, several backstage crew members exited through the side curtains and lined up next to the stairs that lead offstage. After they turned on their flashlight and shown the light onto the stairs, Buddy Guy proceeded to walk into the audience. As he began walking, people quickly starting standing up, frantically grabbing their phones to film Buddy Guy. The audience on the balcony were all leaning on the edge of their seat, hoping to get a glimpse of Buddy Guy. I, unfortunately, did not get to see Buddy Guy in the audience; however, I did listen to his singing as it grew louder and louder as he got further and further into the crowd.

Overall, I really enjoyed Buddy Guy’s performance at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Though I am not that big of a fan of blues music, I still appreciated each song Buddy Guy performed.

For more info : https://krannertcenter.com/events/buddy-guy

Buddy Guy Spurs The Crowd at Krannert

Urbana-Champaign gets a taste of the legendary blues icon

Written by Edward Huang

A projection against the wall at the beginning of the concert

On September 7th, fans of old and new gathered at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to watch Buddy Guy perform. Their energy filled the concert venue long before he appeared on stage. Whether they were addicted to his vibe or simply respecting his art, the fans could not wait for him arrive.

The audience eagerly awaits for Buddy Guy to arrive on stage

I would not say that I’m a big fan of the blues, but I do think that there are many unique musical aspects that can only be incorporated into blues music. Before arriving at Krannert, I had never heard of Buddy Guy. Perhaps it was the generational divide, or simply just my own ignorance, but I was unsure of what to expect. I figured that I would at least enjoy the music, because I play the guitar myself. I certainly did not expect to witness the raw power and skill of Buddy Guy, which I know now is nothing short of legendary. He didn’t just play the blues–he lived and breathed it. It was evident in the way that the audience jumped onto their feet the moment he walked into their view.

He began the show with a series of his own songs. There would always be members of the audience singing along with him. Immediately, I could feel that this concert was different from any other concert I’d attended before. Buddy guy treated his fans not like spectators, but like old friends. As if they had been with him his whole life, watching him grow and develop into the blues staple that he is today. Even though I had never heard of him before, that night, I felt like I’d known him for my whole life. He interacted constantly with the audience. There were many songs where he encouraged the audience to sing with him. It was a musical conversation. At some point during the performance, he lifted the house lights, taking the spotlight away from himself and putting it onto his fans. The lady sitting next to me told me that he loved to walk among his audience. I thought it was such a humble gesture, especially coming from such a renowned figure.

At the end of the night, I felt that the concert was time well spent. I can now confidently say that I love the blues. Buddy Guy sparked a new kind of passion within me. He showed me how to appreciate art of music rather than just the technical parts. I know I will listen to his music for the rest of my life.

An eventful and enjoyable night at the Buddy Guy concert