Last night I heard Chris Botti as the opening act for Josh Groban in New Orleans. He played about 8-10 tunes and only one of them was impressive at all, and that was a duet he did with Josh Groban. The concert was in the New Orleans Arena, and that venue was not good for his style, nor for him to hear, even with the use of monitors. Basically he sounded very uncomfortable all night long, as if he could not hear himself. His musical thoughts were short and incomplete, like he started to play and then changed his mind as to the direction he wanted to go with that specific phrase. He was playing with no music, so this was all by ear. Even so, I was surprised at just how off he was all night. His tone quality was wonderful (very dark and rich), but his intonation suffered throughout his entire performance, another reason I think he was having trouble hearing himself. I know he knows these charts inside and out, but he just never got with the program. I really want to be nice and say it just wasnâ€™t his night, and everyone deserves a bad night now and then â€“ itâ€™s just a shame it had to happen in front of 10,000 people, especially in New Orleans where many more people are jazz literate than in other cities. Stealing the show from Botti was his bassist Jon Ossman, and Federico Pena on keyboards. Ossman was amazing, lifting the bar higher and higher with every opportunity as the featured player. Pena was also wonderful, with an amazing touch on keyboards that ranged from a normal jazz piano solo to a selection where he basically replaced the entire orchestra, but did it with style! I'm not one that likes the "one man orchestra" because it usually sounds too fake -- Pena did it with class, not trying to over do the limitations of a synthesized orchestra. The drummer and guitarist were also good, but Ossman and Pena were in a league of their own (and that comment includes Botti). Itâ€™s a shame when you get totally shown up by your own band members. By the way, I was a semi-fan of Josh Groban prior to last night. I would not say that I have become a Grobanite, but I will say that he is an amazing performer. His upper range had some strange moments in the first 15-minutes of the concert, but once he was warmed up he hit his stride and never looked back. His performance was about 2 hours 15 minutes, and it could have gone on for a couple more hours and you would not have heard a complaint from anyone in the audience! A special thing for me was the fact that he showed off some pretty good skills on the drums and was amazing when he sat down to the piano. He cannot only sing, but he can also play VERY WELL!