Here, a Softer Moment; There, a Sweeping One
Chris Botti on Trumpet at the Beacon Theater
By NATE CHINEN
Photo By Chad Batka for The New York Times
Chris Botti has a trumpet sound that suggests the softer side of luminosity, the realm of sunsets and half-moons and low-wattage incandescence. Mellow and pearly, it emits an unabashed beauty of the sort that you could carefully build a career around — as Mr. Botti has, with extravagant success. But one of the perils of beauty is inertia, and Mr. Botti isn’t about to fall into that trap, as he seemed almost too keen to prove at the Beacon Theater on Tuesday night, in a punchy and ultimately perplexing show.
There’s an underlying dichotomy in Mr. Botti’s work, which functions both on the level of flickering intimacy and thundering grandiosity. He’s adept at exuding human warmth on a sweeping scale, which explains his collaborative history with Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban, and sheds light on his affiliation with Sting. Still, it’s striking how differently Mr. Botti conceives of his roles on record and onstage. To stick with the lighting analogy, his studio output is to his live show what a votive candle is to a fireworks display.