About Chris Botti
Trumpeter Chris Botti is a gifted instrumentalist, a talented composer, and a charismatic performer who–since the release of his first solo album in 1995–has created a series of recordings that have made him a virtual genre-of-one in the realm of contemporary jazz. Through his singular combination of lush atmos-pheres and thoughtful improvisations, Botti has earned both critical acclaim and mainstream appreciation.
Botti’s latest album, To Love Again, a collection of pop jazz standards from the acclaimed trumpeter and nine superstar guest vocalists, is a worthy successor to Botti’s last RIAA gold-certified album, When I Fall In Love.
To Love Again, which is available as both a traditional CD and as a Dual Disc, showcases Chris Botti’s inimitable velvet tone and sublime trumpet phrasings on 13 newly recorded pop and jazz standards featuring nine stand-out vocal performances by some of the greatest singers in modern pop, jazz, and rock. After the first week of release the album debuted in the Billboard Top 200 in the #18 chart position promising great things. Billboard Magazine has predicted it could be “an even bigger hit” than it’s predecessor which remains in the Top Five of the Traditional Jazz Chart.
Joining Chris on To Love Again are guest vocalists Sting (“What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?”), Paula Cole (“My One And Only Love”), Michael Bublé (“Let There Be Love”), Jill Scott (“Good Morning Heartache”), Paul Buchanan (“Are You Lonesome Tonight?”), Gladys Knight (“Lover Man”), Renee Olstead (“Pennies From Heaven”), Rosa Passos (“Here Comes That Rainy Day”), and, yes, that Steven Tyler (on Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”). Rounding out To Love Again are the instrumental tracks “What’s New?” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Embraceable You,” and “To Love Again.” As on his last album, Chris Botti is joined once again by the London Session Orchestra, who provide lush tonal coloration to the album’s arrangements.
The Dual Disc edition of To Love Again features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage on the “Making of” the album along with interviews and studio performances and more.
To Love Again follows the extraordinary success of Botti’s groundbreaking last album, When I Fall In Love, which has sold more than 500,000 copies to-date.
Released on September 28, 2004, When I Fall In Love tapped into the record-buying public’s desire for classic romantic jazz sounds, quickly hitting the #1 slot on both the Traditional Jazz albums sales chart and the Top Jazz overall album sales chart. When I Fall In Love debuted at #1 on the Traditional Jazz Album Sales chart and spent an incredible 17 weeks at #1 (including a spectacular 14 consecutive week run in the top slot). Botti’s When I Fall In Love also spent four weeks as the #1 album on the Jazz Overall Album Sales chart.
Shortly after the album’s release, When I Fall In Love jumped an astounding 109 spots–from #146 (week ending 11/14) to #37 (week ending 11/21) on the Top 200, the biggest single week’s sales leap of any traditional jazz album recorded by an instrumental artist to be released in the SoundScan era.
Botti’s association with Sting–who sings with Botti on both To Love Again and When I Fall In Love–dates back to 1999, when the trumpeter joined the pop legend’s band as featured soloist on the “Brand New Day” tour, which lasted two-and-a-half years. Veteran of both the contemporary jazz world and mainstream pop studio scene, Botti has worked with Joni Mitchell, Natalie Merchant, and renowned film composer John Barry, among others. Film critic Rex Reed has called him “the sexiest trumpeter since Chet Baker.” Botti joined Paul Simon’s band in 1990, where he remained for the next five years, and, in 1995, he recorded his solo debut, First Wish. After scoring the 1996 film “Caught,” Botti returned in 1997 with his second LP, Midnight Without You, which was followed by Slowing Down the World two years later. His 2002 watershed album, Night Sessions, peaked at #2 on the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart while his seasonal collection, December, released the same year, hit #7 on the same chart.
Released in September 2003, A Thousand Kisses Deep entered at #20 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and hit the #3 position on the Contemporary Jazz chart.
About The Artist
Chris Botti is a native of Oregon who was born in Portland and grew up in Corvallis. His earliest musical influence was his mother, a classically trained pianist and part-time piano teacher. “I can’t really sit down and play a song on the piano,” Chris admits. “But I know harmony, and generally I compose on the piano rather than on the trumpet.” He pursued his music studies with a succession of outstanding teachers: David Friesen in the Northwest, Dave Baker in Indiana, and–following Botti’s move to New York City in 1986–the late trumpet master Woody Shaw.
“After I came to New York,” Chris recalls, “I realized I didn’t want to be a jazz musician. I love improvising, 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.
“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, when they broke down all the chords in the song? That band playing ‘Stella By Starlight’ is something very different from, say, Bud Powell playing the same tune.
“My music is more reined-in, because it’s in a pop format. But this atmospheric quality is what I really loved about jazz, and I’ve tried to marry that feel to the textures and melodies you might hear on a record by Peter Gabriel or Bryan Ferry.”
When Paul Simon set out on a 15-month world tour in 1990, Chris became a key sideman in a backing group that combined Brazilian and African players with New York session veterans like Randy Brecker, Richard Tee, and Steve Gadd. Botti’s solo debut, First Wish, was released in 1995; his second effort, Midnight Without You (a collaboration with English ambient pop group the Blue Nile) appeared in 1997 and was followed by Slowing Down The World in 1999. The Academy Award-winning film composer John Barry cast Chris as the featured soloist in his orchestral score Playing By Heart; Chris himself composed and performed the score for the Robert M. Young film “Caught.”
In the studio and on stage, Chris Botti worked with such leading singer-songwriters as Marc Cohn, Joni Mitchell and Natalie Merchant; as a sideman, he has appeared on dozens of albums, compilations and soundtracks. In 2000, Chris joined Sting for two years of roadwork, as the featured soloist with the latter’s “Brand New Day” band. That tour culminated in Tuscany, where the concert was taped, later to become Sting’s first live CD in 15 years. “Sting in Tuscany: All This Time” aired as a part of the A&E In Concert series, garnering six Emmy nominations in the process. The documentary was later released on DVD. Chris became a part of a dramatic and memorable performance on that fateful day in the fall, September 11, 2001.
Working with band mate and multi-instrumentalist Kipper, Chris’s Columbia label debut Night Sessions–inspired by the sounds of the late-night European club scene–was written and recorded during a two and a half-month hiatus between Sting tours. The album became a breakthrough contemporary jazz hit upon its release in October 2001. A Columbia DVD, Night Sessions – Live In Concert, was issued in August 2002. Taped live at the historic El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, “Chris Botti and Friends” featured the trumpeter with his own expert road band plus guest appearances by Sting and Shawn Colvin.
In October 2002, Chris released the holiday theme album December. This 13-track collection combined joyful interpretations of seasonal standards (“Little Drummer Boy,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”) with contemporary songs in the Christmas spirit, including Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and “Perfect Day” by Richard Marx. On the promotional trail in support of December, Botti appeared on “The Caroline Rhea Show” (WB network). He was invited to return the next day…then promptly hired as Rhea’s on-air partner, chatting with the host at the start of every show and frequently sitting in with a house band led by bassist Tim LeFebvre. Before he knew it, it was May 2003 and Chris had been part of “The Caroline Rhea Show” for five months.
The end came not a moment too soon as Chris headed into the recording studio to record his next Columbia release
A Thousand Kisses Deep. On this CD, Chris started to show his affinity to the “classics”, recording a now renowned arrangement of the Miles Davis classic My Funny Valentine. The reaction to this performance – both on disc and live – made Chris realize his next album would do well to focus on the repertoire of the great American songbook. When I Fall in Love was recorded in Los Angeles and London in 2004 and produced by veteran Bobby Colomby. Working with some of the most accomplished arrangers and orchestrators around it has been hailed as “an instant classic” by many and continues to sell well nearly a year after it’s release. Botti’s big break came when he was “discovered” by Oprah Winfrey, who quickly championed his artistry to her audience, presenting him on her show in November of 2004. Within a week of his performance he had sold more than 50,000 CD’s and has not stopped since – maintaining it’s top five presence on the charts all the while.
Botti has outdone himself with the release of his latest album: To Love Again. Employing nine of this era’s finest vocalists, relying on sublime orchestral arrangements, and once again under the direction of producer Bobby Colomby, this album has fulfilled the highest expectations. www.chrisbotti.com
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