Chris Botti performs ‘My Funny Valentine’ on the PBS LEGENDS OF JAZZ, Golden Horns, episode © PBS
Direct from his regular holiday season residency at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York, Chris Botti arrives in San Francisco this week to take over the Miner Auditorium at SFJAZZ, with a repertoire which is as likely to include romantic and classical music as jazz and pop.
The world’s biggest selling jazz instrumentalist, Chris Botti spent his early years performing and recording with artists of the caliber of Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich and Joni Mitchell. During the 90s he played extensively with Paul Simon, and enjoyed a particularly fruitful collaboration with Sting, appearing on his Brand New Day tour. He describes those performances and those relationships as “powerful learning experiences”.
Since he started releasing albums in 1995, four of them have reached the No 1 spot on the Billboard jazz albums chart. His 2007 album, Italia – on which he partnered with tenor Andrea Bocelli for the title track – was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2008, and his 2009 album, Live in Boston – recorded with the Boston Pops Orchestra – received nominations in three categories at the 2010 GRAMMY Awards ceremony. This one featured the fabulously talented trumpeter improvising with artists such as Yo Yo Ma, Sting, Steven Tyler, John Mayer and Josh Groban,
His 2012 album, Impressions, featured Botti with a range of artists such as Vince Gill, Herbie Hancock, Mark Knopfler, Caroline Campbell and tenor Andrea Bocelli, in a selection of crossover jazz, pop and classical pieces. Highlighting his love of melody, Impressions features works by Gershwin and Harold Arlen, as well as by classical composers Astor Piazzolla and Frédéric Chopin – his Prelude No 20 in C minor – Botti’s own version of which he was commissioned to perform in Warsaw in 2010, on the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Impressions sold over 4 million copies and won a GRAMMY for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Christ Botti has now established himself as one of the important and innovative figures of the contemporary music world, and all because, at the age of 12, he heard a recording of Miles Davis playing My Funny Valentine. This recording not only persuaded him to make a life time commitment to the trumpet, but also provided the direction for a musician described as “A subtle trumpeter with a sumptuous sound, fluent phrasing and sense of space”. (SFJAZZ)
Appearing with Chris Botti this week are Lee Pearson on drums, Richie Goods on bass, guitarist Ben Butler, pianist Taylor Eigsti, Ben Stivers on keys, Caroline Campbell on violin, and vocalists Sy Smith and Rafael Moras.
The Chris Botti residency takes place in the Miner Auditorium at SFJAZZ from January 10 to 15. For further information and tickets – which are selling out fast – visit the SFJAZZ website.