Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

583

Chris Botti Cools Connecticut

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
I'm chasing the ultimate chill-out vibe. —Chris Botti
Trumpeter Chris Botti, hot off of Sting's sold-out North American "Sacred Love" tour, slid into New Haven, headlining his own contemporary jazz jam. April 2, 2004 - Lyman Hall at Southern Connecticut State University is where the cool combustion took place. (He even looks like Sting.)
Promoting his most recent Columbia label release, A Thousand Kisses Deep , Botti showcased his talents as both a pop performer and a pure jazz trumpet balladeer. The 2003 release features a diverse group of contributing songwriters including Leonard Cohen and Rogers & Hart, as well as Botti originals.
The touring band Botti brought with him was red-hot. I recognized the drummer from a recent Larry Carlton show in New York. It was Billy Kilson, keeping practiced with his serious chops. He's worked with folks like George Duke and Christian McBride. On bass, Jon Ossman kept the groove going, having recently returned from his honeymoon in Vietnam. The nervously twitchy Marc Shulman was squeezing sounds out of his guitar, replacing Shayne Fontayne who's busy promoting his solo CD, What Nature Intended. On keyboards, the very capable Federico Pena from Uruguay, provided structure. He's performed with Meshell Ndegbecello and Maxwell.
Chris Botti and the boys are polished, combat-proven veterans. They really put on a great show. From funk to an incredibly moving rendition of "My Funny Valentine", this night was a musical marvel. Botti had time to let the classic ballad breathe, unlike the 33-minute sets allowed to him as Sting's opener. This song was perhaps the show's highlight. Standing alone in the audience - the spotlight on him - Botti poured out the sweetness from his trumpet, accompanied only by Pena on keyboards.

It takes balls for a trumpet player to cover the classic "My Funny Valentine", since its so closely linked to Miles Davis and Chet Baker. "I was a little nervous going into it," Botti confesses about recording the song for his release "A Thousand Kisses Deep."

"My hope is that the exposed nature of this performance will show how I can play the trumpet apart from the pop structures of the rest of the album," Botti continues. "I think it shows, in a naked way, the true sound of my horn." The CD version was done in one take, with Billy Childs accompanying on piano.

A Thousand Kisses Deep was recorded in May/June 2003. "By pop standards, I make records really fast," Botti says. "I'd say 70-80% of the trumpet performances are first takes. It seems that if I don't have a lot of time, I can give a bit more original or more honest approach to the song."

Of his latest release, Botti sums it up as "a more mature and expansive version of the kind of thing I started doing eight or nine years ago. I'm chasing the ultimate chill-out vibe. I'm trying to create music that is beautiful and sophisticated at the same time."

He continues, "The difference in this album is rhythm. The most obvious example is a track called "Last Three Minutes" (written by Burt Bacharach and Andre Young). You can hear a tougher rhythmic approach that I haven't had on my records before."

Watching the concert, I was impressed with the smoothness of his sound. He has a really nice, soft touch. He humbly attributes some of that to his instrument. Last year he purchased a rare 1941 Martin trumpet that "has really made a difference in my playing." He adds, "It's a rare instrument with a slightly larger bell. It was like finding a rare Jaguar or a rare Porsche. The sound is so dark and beautiful, with a really soft and inviting tone."

The Oregon native got his first musical influences from his mother, a classically-trained pianist. Botti moved to New York City in 1986, where he studied with the late, great jazz trumpeter Woody Shaw. "After I came to New York, I realized I didn't want to be a jazz musician," he muses. "I love improvisation, but you really need to live the bebop tradition in order to play it. That kind of music - the kind that Woody Shaw, for example, played so brilliantly - just moves a little too quickly for me."

Botti continues, "The music that really inspired me as a teenager was more like Miles Davis playing ballads with the second quintet. You know, that spacey thing."

Botti joined the 1990 Paul Simon World Tour, working side by side with jazz veterans trumpeter Randy Brecker and drummer Steve Gadd. Chris Botti has appeared on dozens of albums, compilations and soundtracks. His 2001 Columbia label debut is called Night Sessions. In 2002, he put out a holiday themed CD, December. While promoting that release, he appeared on the WB Networks' "The Caroline Rhea Show" and was hired the next day as her on-air partner, where he stayed for a five-month stint. (Ya never know where the showbiz road will take ya.)

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Vorcza at Nectar's Live Reviews Vorcza at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Rossano Sportiello Trio at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews Rossano Sportiello Trio at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms Live Reviews Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms
by Martin Longley
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano Live Reviews Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: January 13, 2018
Read Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Richie Buckley With The Scott Flanigan Trio @ The Sunflower, Belfast" Live Reviews Richie Buckley With The Scott Flanigan Trio @ The...
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Suoni Per Il Popolo 2017" Live Reviews Suoni Per Il Popolo 2017
by Mike Chamberlain
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "FORQ at The World Cafe Live" Live Reviews FORQ at The World Cafe Live
by Mike Jacobs
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 2-2" Live Reviews Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 2-2
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "ECM Showcase at NYC Winter Jazzfest 2017" Live Reviews ECM Showcase at NYC Winter Jazzfest 2017
by Tyran Grillo
Published: January 22, 2017