Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Best Music You Haven't Heard (Yet) - Chris Botti

Ever have one of those moments whilst listening to music where everything stops, it's just you and the song, and you're so powerfully moved by it that somebody could knock you to the ground with the touch of a feather? I recently had just that experience when I found myself listening to Chris Botti's latest live record, Chris Botti In Boston. Recorded at Symphony Hall in 2008, the concert is a spellbinding mixture of jazz, classical, and pop music with Botti inviting a slew of great artists to the stage to join him in duet, among them Sting, Yo-Yo Ma, Steven Tyler, & Josh Groban. His simple, beautiful performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" floored me so hard that I exclaimed to my wife, "If you don't get that, there's nothing I can do for you." The whole concert is nothing less than masterful; a stunning display of musicianship that most musical artists of any genre can only hope to equal.

Chris Botti began his career in the mid- to late-90s, but rocketed to notoriety when he joined Sting's band for the ...All This Time tour. For those of you currently outside the know, ...All This Time was Sting's re-orchestration of his own songs into a more jazz-based format, and Botti was tapped as the trumpet player. I myself was fortunate enough to see Botti perform with Sting at Colorado Springs' very own World Arena, and I, like the rest of the world, took notice. Since then, Botti's been able to crank out album after album of spectacular music and shows no signs of slowing down.

Melody and control are the hallmarks of Chris Botti's musicianship. He's been known to serenade female members of his audiences with the bell of his trumpet less than a foot from their heads without blowing them out of the room. Botti brings a quiet intensity to his performances that tends to draw the focus of the listener right to where he wants them, and it's a pleasant thing, too: his orchestrations and arrangements are comfortably listenable. He is a jazz artist who routinely incorporates classical music into his albums as well, but it's his jazz that's truly easy to listen to. He doesn't lose the pop-based audiences by diverging so much into "playing"; he keeps his commitment to the melodies and doesn't drift into musical la-la land.

I could not more highly recommend Italia, When I Fall In Love, Night Sessions, as well as his wonderful Christmas music album December (along with the aforementioned Chris Botti In Boston). Do yourself a favor and check Botti out. You won't be disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. Saw this gentleman live two rows away...his sound was sooo pure...thank you for reminding me of my favorite trumpet player.


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