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Botti, Chris

Chris Botti

Trumpet player, composer

Trumpeter Chris Botti has toured with pop stars such as Paul Simon and Sting, and has worked as a session musician on the albums of many others. With a successful recording career of his own, Botti had released many solo albums and has also composed and produced music for feature films, including Caught and Playing by Heart.

Christopher Botti was born in 1962 in Portland, Oregon. He began playing music at the age of ten and made his professional debut before graduating from high school. He attended Indiana University's music program, where he was taught by renowned jazz instructor David Baker. After graduation Botti moved to New York City, where he played with saxophone player George Coleman and master trumpeter Woody Shaw, and launched a successful career as a session musician, playing on recordings by pop greats Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and others.

Botti began a five-year stint with Paul Simon's band in 1990, and also began to produce other musicians' work. One of his tracks appeared on a 1994 album by the Brecker Brothers that went on to win a Grammy Award. Botti left Paul Simon's band in 1995 to record his own album, First Wish, released by Verve. His sound on this recording, as on future albums, was a blend of jazz and pop, with rock influences. During this same period, Botti wrote the musical score for the feature film Caught, which was released in 1996.

Botti released his second solo album, Midnight Without You, in 1997, and followed it with Slowing Down the World in 1999, an album inspired by Botti's practice of yoga. In a biography published on the Verve record label's Web site, Botti said, "This record is the product of the marriage of my yoga study and my music. It's slightly more meditative and more organic than what I've done before."

Botti continued to play trumpet on other musicians' recordings, including those of Natalie Merchant. He toured with Joni Mitchell and an experimental rock band called Upper Extremities, and was a featured trumpet soloist in the film score for Playing by Heart. He even found time to do a little acting, appearing as a day player on the soap opera One Life to Live. By 2001 Botti was playing with Sting's band as a featured soloist on the Brand New Day world tour. Botti told Jazz Review online, "Being a soloist with [Sting] really put my trumpet playing in good condition; the interaction between us made me very confident and put me at the top of my game."

During that same year, while on break from touring with Sting, Botti released his fourth album, Night Sessions, a recording that marked a turning point in his development as an artist. Asked to describe how it differed from his other recordings, he told Jazz Review online, "It's much more mature, I think. … It stands on its own musically, and it uses the trumpet as a voice to the point where you would think it's more of a singer's record." Recorded in a house overlooking Los Angeles, Night Sessions was strongly inspired by the vista of the city at night. "The whole record became this soundtrack for this house," Botti said in an interview on the ContemporaryJazz.com Web site.

Botti cited Sting as one of his prime influences in the album's creation. "Night Sessions—the maturity of it," he said on Sting's official Web site, "has a lot to do with being with Sting. On this album … I tried to borrow from Sting that it is possible to take the listener on a journey." Night Sessions was cowritten and produced by fellow Sting band member Kipper, who described on Sting's Web site the process of collaborating on each piece. "We were working on all of them simultaneously. We didn't have too much time. So I didn't want to get too bogged down perfecting something. By the end of the third week, we had visited each track several times."

Because Botti and Kipper's time between tours with Sting was limited, and the album was written and recorded in just ten weeks. "We allotted one month to write the material and six weeks to record it and mix it," Botti told ContemporaryJazz.com. The tight deadline forced Botti and Kipper to be freer in their work. "When you have a gun to your head, when you really need to finish by a certain date it activates something in you. More like an improviser."

Botti also counted legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis among his musical influences. As he told Jazz Review online, "I admire the fact that Miles knew he couldn't be a great be-bopper, but that didn't matter because he focused on making great records around this incredible tone of his."

To strike a balance between his session work, his tours with Sting and others, and his own solo work, Botti remained strongly focused on playing "texturally," and did not allow himself to be distracted by experiments with other playing styles. "My greatest weapon," he told Jazz Review, "will always be to understand what it is that I do." His major emphasis, he continued, is to create a distinctive voice for his trumpet that will be instantly recognizable. "The trumpet," he said, "is a very nasal instrument, and I want to soften it in a way where I can sing to people through it. Miles did it to me, and I want to do it to the listener." Asked what advice he had for up-and-coming musicians, Botti advised them in Jazz Review "to be original, to do their own thing," and stressed the importance of remaining true to one's vision, no matter what others might say.

In 2004 Botti broke new ground with When I Fall in Love. Whereas critics had formally categorized much of his output as "smooth jazz," his new work revealed a fresh perspective. "While Botti has broken new ground in the smooth jazz genre in the past, his rediscovery of his jazz roots makes When I Fall in Love the album he has been threatening to make his whole career," wrote Matt Collar in All Music Guide. On the recording, Botti focused on what he believed was his strongest talent: interpreting ballads. "If my career were to end today, this is the record that I would want to be remembered by," Botti told Jazz Review. "This is my statement record. This is the one that I'm absolutely most proud of."

Botti quickly returned in 2005 with To Love Again: The Duets, an album that married his distinctive trumpet style with a series of vocal guests. The singers, including Paula Cole, Gladys Knight, and Michael Buble, interpreted a number of classic songs, including "Embraceable You," "Lover Man," and "Pennies From Heaven." Botti followed with Italia in 2007, which was warmly received by critics. "His work continues to improve with each successive release," wrote All About Jazz, "with Italia being masterful and quite beautiful evidence that Botti is the premier trumpeter of his time."

For the Record …

Born Christopher Botti in 1962 in Portland, Oregon. Education: Graduated from Indiana University.

Began playing music at age ten; played professionally while still in high school; moved to New York City after college, played with saxophonist George Coleman and trumpeter Woody Shaw; worked as a session musician on recordings by Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and others; joined Paul Simon's band, 1990; recorded first solo album, First Wish, 1995; left Paul Simon's band, 1995; produced track on Grammy Award-winning album by the Becker Brothers, 1994; composed musical score for feature film Caught, 1996; released second solo album, Midnight Without You, 1997; released Slowing Down the World, 1999; toured with Sting; released solo album Night Sessions, 2001, A Thousand Kisses Deep, 2003, When I Fall in Love, 2004, and To Love Again: The Duets, 2005; toured with vocalist Diana Krall, 2007; issued Italia, 2007.

Addresses: Record company—Sony Music, 555 Madison Ave., 10th Fl., New York, NY 10022-3211. Web site—Chris Botti Official Web site: http://www.chrisbotti.com.

Besides his solo work, Botti continued to work with a number of popular artists, most visibly with jazz vocalist Diana Krall in 2007. Reflecting on his work as a trumpeter, Botti told the Rivers Cities' Reader: "In hindsight, one of my greatest strengths in my life was picking an instrument that nobody really plays. There aren't many trumpet players out there because the instrument's so tough. It separates me from a lot of competition."

Selected discography

First Wish, Verve/Forecast, 1995.

Caught, Polygram, 1996.

Midnight Without You, Verve/Forecast, 1997.

Slowing Down the World, GRP, 1999.

Night Sessions, Sony, 2001.

Very Best of Chris Botti, Verve, 2002.

A Thousand Kisses Deep, Columbia, 2003.

When I Fall in Love, Sony, 2004.

To Love Again: The Duets, Columbia, 2005.

Italia, Sony, 2007.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, June 5, 1999, p. 73.

Hollywood Reporter, December 5, 2001, p. 8(2).

Online

"Caught," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (January 7, 2008).

"Chris Botti," All Movie Guide, http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=BP201272 (August 29, 2002).

"Chris Botti: Freedom After Dark," Jazz Review, http://www.jazzreview.com/articledetails.cfm?ID=177 (August 29, 2002).

"Chris Botti Interview," ContemporaryJazz.com, http://www.contemporaryjazz.com/interviews/ChrisBotti.html (August 29, 2002).

"Chris Botti," Verve Music Group, http://www.vervemusicgroup.com/verve/artist.asp?aid=2911 (September 5, 2002).

"Chris Botti: When I Fall in Love," Jazz Review,http://www.jazzreview.com (February 5, 2008).

"Italia," All About Jazz,http://www.allaboutjazz.com (February 5, 2008).

"Night Sessions," Sting Official Web site, http://www.sting.com/newspress/interviews/chriskip.html (September 5, 2002).

"Taming a Brutal Instrument," River Cities' Reader,http://www.rcreader.com/ (February 5, 2008).

—Michael Belfiore and Ronald D. Lankford, Jr.

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"Botti, Chris." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Botti, Chris." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved September 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/botti-chris-0

Botti, Chris

Chris Botti

Trumpeter, composer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Trumpeter Chris Botti has toured with pop stars such as Paul Simon and Sting, and worked as a session musician on the albums of many others, including Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin. With a successful recording career of his own, Botti had released four solo albums by 2001, and composed and produced music for feature films, including Caught and Playing by Heart.

Christopher Botti was born in 1962 in Portland, Oregon. He began playing music at the age of 10 and made his professional debut before graduating from high school. He attended Indiana Universitys music program, where he was taught by renowned jazz instructor David Baker. After graduation, Botti moved to New York City, where he played with saxophone player George Coleman and master trumpeter Woody Shaw and launched a successful career as a session musician, playing on recordings by pop greats Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and others.

Botti began a five-year stint with Paul Simons band in 1990, and also began to produce other musicians work. One of his tracks appeared on a 1994 album by the Brecker Brothers that went on to win a Grammy Award. Botti left Paul Simons band in 1995 to record his own album, First Wish, released by Verve. His sound on this recording, as on future albums, was a blend of jazz and pop, with rock influences. During this same period, Botti wrote the musical score for the feature film Caught, which was released in 1996.

Botti released his second solo album, Midnight Without You, in 1997, and followed it with Slowing Down the World in 1999, an album inspired by Bottis practice of yoga. In a biography published on the Verve record labels website, Botti said, This record is the product of the marriage of my yoga study and my music. Its slightly more meditative and more organic than what Ive done before.

Botti continued to play trumpet on other musicians recordings, including Natalie Merchant. He toured with Joni Mitchell and an experimental rock band called Upper Extremities, and was a featured trumpet soloist in the film score for Playing by Heart. He even found time to do a little acting, appearing as a day player on the soap opera One Life to Life. By 2001 Botti was playing with Stings band as a featured soloist on the Brand New Day world tour. My role with Sting, Botti told Jazz Review online, being a soloist with him, really put my trumpet playing in good condition; the interaction between us made me very confident and put me at the top of my game.

During that same year, while on break from touring with Sting, Botti released his fourth album, Night Sessions, a recording that marked a turning point in his development as an artist. Asked to describe how it differed from his other recordings, he told Jazz Review online, its much more mature, I think. The thing thats different

For the Record

Born Christopher Botti in 1962 in Portland, OR. Education: Graduated from Indiana University.

Began playing music at age ten; first played professionally while still in high school; moved to New York City after graduating from college, played with saxophonist George Coleman and renowned trumpeter Woody Shaw; worked as a session musician on recordings by Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and other pop stars; joined Paul Simons band, 1990; recorded first solo album, First Wish; left Paul Simons band, 1995; produced a track on Grammy Award-winning album by the Becker Brothers, 1994; composed musical score for the feature film Caught, 1996; released second solo album, Midnight Without You, 1997; released Slowing Down the World, 1999; toured with Sting; released fourth solo album, Night Sessions, 2001.

Addresses: Record company The Verve Music Group, 1755 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. WebsiteChris Botti Official Website: http://www.chrisbotti.com.

about this CD from my other CDs, as well as other jazz CDs, is if you remove the trumpet, no one is asking, Wheres the trumpet? It stands on its own musically, and it uses the trumpet as a voice to the point where you would think its more of a singers record. Recorded in a house overlooking Los Angeles, Night Sessions was strongly inspired by the vista of the city at night. The whole record became this soundtrack for this house, Botti said in an interview on the ContemporaryJazz.com website.

Botti cited Sting as one of his prime influences in the albums creation. Night Sessions the maturity of it, he said on Stings official website, has a lot to do with being with Sting. On this album, I tried to do different things. I tried to borrow from Sting that it is possible to take the listener on a journey. Night Sessions was cowritten and produced by fellow Sting band member Kipper, who described the process of collaborating on each piece on Stings website. We were working on all of them simultaneously. We didnt have too much time. So I didnt want to get too bogged down perfecting something. By the end of the third week, we had visited each track several times.

Because Botti and Kippers time between tours with Sting was limited, the album was written and recorded in just ten weeks. We allotted one month to write the material and six weeks to record it and mix it, Botti told ContemporaryJazz.com. The tight deadline forced Botti and Kipper to be freer in their work. When you have a gun to your head, when you really need to finish by a certain date it activates something in you. More like an improviser.

Botti also counts legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis among his musical influences. As he told Jazz Review online, I admire the fact that Miles knew he couldnt be a great be-bopper, but that didnt matter because he focused on making great records around this incredible tone of his. I know the same thing, that I am not a be-bopper, and dont want to play fast over a lot of changes, even though I probably can.

To strike a balance between his session work, his tours with Sting and others, and his own solo work, Botti remains strongly focused on playing texturally, and does not allow himself to be distracted by experiments with other playing styles. My greatest weapon, he told Jazz Review, will always be to understand what it is that I do. His major emphasis, he continued, is to create a distinctive voice for his trumpet that is all his own, and that will be instantly recognizable. The trumpet, he said, is a very nasal instrument, and I want to soften it in a way where I can sing to people through it. Miles did it to me, and I want to do it to the listener.

Asked what advice he had for up-and-coming musicians, Botti advised them in Jazz Review to be original, to do their own thing, and stressed the importance of remaining true to ones vision, no matter what others might say. Years ago, he recalled, when I would tell people what Im shooting for, they were like, Oh, youre dreaming. [But w]hen you think of something long enough it becomes reality.

Selected discography

First Wish, Verve/Forecast, 1995.

Caught, Polygram, 1996.

Midnight Without You, Verve/Forecast, 1997.

Slowing Down the World, GRP, 1999.

Night Sessions, Sony, 2001.

Very Best of Chris Botti, Verve, 2002.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, June 5, 1999, p. 73.

Hollywood Reporter, December 5, 2001, p. 8(2).

Online

Caught, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (August 29, 2002).

Chris Botti, All Movie Guide, http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=BP201272 (August 29, 2002).

Chris Botti, Verve Music Group, http://www.allmovie.com/sicgroup.com/verve/artist.asp?aid=2911 (September 5, 2002).

Chris Botti: Freedom After Dark, Jazz Review, http://www.jazzreview.com/articledetails.cfm?ID=177 (August 29, 2002).

Chris Botti Interview, ContemporaryJazz.com, http://www.contemporaryjazz.com/interviews/ChrisBotti.html (August 29, 2002).

Night Sessions, Sting Official Website, http://www.sting.com/newspress/interviews/chriskip.html (September 5, 2002).

Michael Belfiore

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Botti, Chris." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Botti, Chris." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/botti-chris

"Botti, Chris." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved September 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/botti-chris