Grammy Award winning artist and Shure endorser Chris Botti spent some time with us in Nashville to discuss his inspirations, why he likes audience interaction, and how the wireless Beta 98H/C is an important part of capturing the sound of his trumpet.
The Virginia-Pilot, by Ed Condran Correspondent
While fronting the Police, Sting crafted the jaunty “Man in a Suitcase” 36 years ago. As it turns out, a good friend of Sting’s, trumpet player Chris Botti, is living that life – and loving it.
The Grammy Award winner sold his luxurious Hollywood Hills home and almost all of his possessions two years ago and moved into a Manhattan hotel.
“I can literally fit all of my belongings into two suitcases,” Botti said while calling from Portsmouth, N.H. “I own a trumpet, a couple of suits and a nice watch. I don’t even own a storage locker. I love it. I had the house with the pool that drops off the cliff (in Los Angeles) and I had the sports car, but I realized I wasn’t that guy. I’m so much happier living life this way.”
Botti, 53, who will perform tonight at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, just lives for the music. He’s on tour so often that he spends little time at his hotel, save one month a year when he does a residency at Manhattan’s Blue Note in December.
“I love that, since I get to walk to work,” Botti said. “It’s the greatest.”
The charismatic entertainer’s last album is 2012’s “Impressions,” but he isn’t even thinking about his next release.
Botti said he is focusing on his show – part rock, part jazz and part classical.
“What I want to do is put the listener in a hypnotic state,” Botti said. “When you come to the concert, I want to put some heat under it. I want to blow your head off.”
The well-respected jazz player sounds like a death metalist: “I admit it, I’m pumped up.”
There is plenty of material for him to select. Botti has nine albums to draw from and can play many different styles.
“I’m not hurting for songs,” he said. “It’s not easy to put together what I’ll play. But I go for it. All of my focus is on this tour. I’m not going to even think new album until 2017. I lead a charmed life.”
He certainly has made some key connections.
In 1990, Botti started a decadelong touring and recording relationship with Paul Simon.
“He might be the greatest songwriter ever,” Botti said. “What I learned from him is to pay attention to details. You wouldn’t believe how many top musicians play out of key.”
In 1999, he began touring with Sting, who allowed him to solo during his shows.
“Sting is one of the nicest guys in the business,” Botti said. “He was all about me getting noticed. He told me that he would expose me to his fans and that they, even if they weren’t jazz fans, could become fans of mine. I ventured out on a 26-month tour and it was amazing. Sting eventually ‘fired’ me and made me his opening act. He has helped me and so many other recording artists. I felt like the angel came down from the heavens and connected me with Sting.”
Some folks in the music industry are less than complimentary when Sting’s name is dropped.
“I hate him, too,” Botti joked. “The guy is a freak of nature. He’s so talented. He’s good-looking and in such great shape. To put it in perspective, as great as Roger Daltrey and Robert Plant are, can they play jazz like Sting in front of an orchestra?”
Botti and Sting live within blocks of each other in Manhattan and often hit the town together.
“We go to premieres of movies and just hang out,” Botti said. “That’s part of what’s great about living in my hotel, I can live life to the fullest and only go a few blocks from my apartment, which is incredibly spare.”
Botti’s hotel is so spartan that it doesn’t include the Grammy he won in 2013 for best pop instrumental album for “Impressions.”
“It’s not in my hotel, but I didn’t sell it when I sold off all my possessions. The Grammy is in my manager’s office. I don’t need things. I just need music and a place to sleep.”
Read at PilotOnline.com
Washington Performing Arts Produces an Eclectic and Entertaining Musical Evening with Chris Botti
I went to a Chris Botti concert and Cirque du Soleil and Led Zepplin broke out. Saturday night’s Washington Performing Arts concert by Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti was eclectic, entertaining, and downright electrifying.
A mesmerizing trumpet player, Botti is also a storyteller who thrives on audience interaction. Arguably one of the top jazz trumpeters in America today, Botti surrounds himself with some of the best musicians in the music industry, proving himself a gracious band leader by spotlighting every member of his dynamic band. Snazzily dressed, on time, and in the groove, Chris Botti’s band continues to share an infectious joy in making music together, even after 12 years of nearly nonstop road appearances.
When I Fall In Love, a reimagined and reinvigorated take on a classic, highlighted the talent and intensity these musicians bring to their work. The fun was infectious as Botti on trumpet, Geoffrey Keezer on piano, Richie Goods on bass, Ben Butler on electric guitar, and Lee Pearson on drums swapped leads and tempos and created magic in The Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Goods turned in an impressive bass solo on an amped up Venice. Another highlight among highlights was Botti’s smooth and haunting duet with guitarist Ben Butler on Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
DC native Sy Smith blew the roof off The Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall with her rendition of Burt Bacharach’s The Look of Love. The unison scatting by Smith and Botti was nothing short of phenomenal, and Smith emphatically proved that it really is possible for a human voice to replicate a trumpet line (even a trumpet line as smooth, sustained and multi-octaved as Botti’s). In a scene-stealing turn, Smith showed off her elegant vocals with versatility, tossing off sultry jazz and diva pop vocals with ease and assurance.
One of my favorite songs of the night, The Very Thought of You, brought Botti and Smith into the audience for a sultry duet that morphed into a rock concert with hot guitar solos by Ben Butler and Richie Goods, as well as intense solos by Lee Pearson on drums and Geoffrey Keezer and Ben Stivers on piano and keyboards respectively. There is nothing this group of musicians can’t do.
Lee Pearson’s infectious grin and enthusiastic drumming stole the show numerous times, particularly in You Don’t Know What Love Is, where his athletic and flamboyant drum solo sent drumsticks flying at the head of bassist Richie Goods, leading to much good-natured joking the rest of the evening. Pearson showed himself a drummer par excellence with a show stopping solo featuring his six year old son, Lee, at the end of the show.
Concert violinist Sandy Cameron proved the truth of Shakespeare’s lines: “though she be but little, she is fierce.” Acrobatic, athletic, and commanding, Cameron’s powerful violin playing approached the realm of performance art. Cameron and Botti teamed up for a heartwrenching and soulful Emmanuel. On a virtuoso solo turn that morphed into a raucous Kashmir with the band, Cameron brought the crowd to its feet with an electrifying performance that showed the full range of her skill.
Saturday’s concert at The Kennedy Center proved yet again why Chris Botti and his fantastic band are some of the most talented and entertaining musicians on the concert circuit today.
Read the article at DC Metro Theater Arts