Chris Botti at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
Saturday, February 9, 2019, 7:30 pm in the South Shore Room at Harrah's Lake Tahoe. Tickets
Botti seemed destined to become a musician -- and even to become the kind of musician he is today -- almost from the very beginning. Born in Portland, Oregon, he was encouraged to pursue music by his mother, a concert pianist. He also had an early taste of the international world that would become his primary territory as a successful performing artist. His father, who is Italian, taught English and Italian languages, and he took the family to live in Italy for several years, beginning when Botti was in the first grade.
“I was speaking fluent Italian before we came back,” he recalls. “But, sadly, I’ve forgotten most of it.” That he still feels a firm connection with his Italian roots, however, was fully manifest in the title song he composed, with David Foster, for the album, Italia. A different, but equally significant connection took place when Botti was twelve, and he heard Miles Davis play “My Funny Valentine.” The impact it had not only persuaded him to make a life time commitment to the trumpet, it also launched the affection for melody, space and balance that have been intrinsic aspects of Botti’s musical vision.
After attending Indiana University, and studying with the highly regarded jazz educator David Baker, the great trumpet teacher Bill Adam, jazz trumpeter Woody Shaw and jazz saxophonist George Coleman, he moved to New York in the mid-‘80s. His early career was spent crafting his skills in settings reaching from the Buddy Rich Big Band and Frank Sinatra to Natalie Cole and Joni Mitchell. Throughout the ‘90s and into the new century, Botti played extensively with Paul Simon, and had an especially creative association with Sting.
Those gigs – and those relationships – were, he says, powerful learning experiences. “Watching artists like Sting and Paul and Joni Mitchell,” explains Botti, “how they get in and out of songs, how they introduce people, whether they would do this or that sort of thing, what they would say about one of their players. All that was a huge asset for me. I wouldn’t be the performer I am today without that background.”
Now a major artist in his own right, performing worldwide, selling more than three million albums, he has found a form of creative expression that begins in jazz and expands beyond the limits of any single genre. With Impressions and the albums that preceded it, Chris Botti has thoroughly established himself as one of the important, innovative figures of the contemporary music world.