In last week's blog post, I had the pleasure of talking a bit about Alexander Brown - trumpeter extraordinaire - and his Special Project presentation this Wednesday at Lula Lounge. Today, Robi Botos gets the spotlight - his Special Projects presentation is this Thursday at Jazz Bistro.
I've written about Robi before, but it's worth recounting my first exposure to this incredible pianist. The first time I saw Robi perform was while I was Artistic Director for the Markham Jazz Festival. I had booked the Daniel Barnes Quartet and he mentioned he would have this hotshot pianist named Robi Botos on the gig. I was looking forward to seeing Robi in action, since I had already heard so much about him. I was blown away within a matter of minutes. I remember at a certain point catching Daniel's eye - in the middle of a fiery piano solo - and exchanging this kind of look that said "whoa..."
Since hearing Robi for the first time many years ago, I've seen him perform in a variety of settings - on his own projects and as a side musician, on acoustic and electric pianos, performing original compositions or paying tribute to Oscar Peterson - and he's been impressive every time. His performance this Thursday at Jazz Bistro will certainly be one to remember. Joining him onstage will be the band members from Movin' Forward, the CD being celebrated at the show. And they are, as the saying goes, no slouches: Seamus Blake on tenor and soprano saxophones; Robert Hurst on bass; and Jeff 'Tain' Watts on drums.
Robi's bio (read it here) speaks for itself - he has played with some of the biggest names in jazz, on some of the biggest stages in the jazz world. With Movin' Forward, he is demonstrating a desire to take his career to the next level. Musicians like Blake, Hurst and Watts won't record on any project; and a good musician wouldn't ask artists like Blake, Hurst and Watts to record with him until he knew he was ready. The very fact that the record got made - that these four musicians were all in the same studio at the same time - is an indication that Robi is more than ready to reinforce his outstanding reputation on an international level. To hear them perform in the intimate Jazz Bistro is going to be an absolute treat.
Robi Botos, Seamus Blake, Robert Hurst and Jeff 'Tain' Watts celebrate the release of Movin' Forward this Thursday at Jazz Bistro with shows at 8:30 and 10:30 pm. Complete details - along with a sneak peek from the album - are available here.
This is going to be quite a musical week - I hope to see you soon!