Born Christopher Botti in 1962 in Portland, OR. Education: Graduated from Indiana University. Addresses: Record company--The Verve Music Group, 1755 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Website--Chris Botti Official Website: http://www.chrisbotti.com.

Trumpeter Chris Botti has toured with pop stars such as Paul Simon and Sting, and worked as a session musician on the albums of many others, including Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin. With a successful recording career of his own, Botti had released four solo albums by 2001, and composed and produced music for feature films, including Caught and Playing by Heart.

Christopher Botti was born in 1962 in Portland, Oregon. He began playing music at the age of 10 and made his professional debut before graduating from high school. He attended Indiana University's music program, where he was taught by renowned jazz instructor David Baker. After graduation, Botti moved to New York City, where he played with saxophone player George Coleman and master trumpeter Woody Shaw and launched a successful career as a session musician, playing on recordings by pop greats Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and others.

Botti began a five-year stint with Paul Simon's band in 1990, and also began to produce other musicians' work. One of his tracks appeared on a 1994 album by the Brecker Brothers that went on to win a Grammy Award. Botti left Paul Simon's band in 1995 to record his own album, First Wish, released by Verve. His sound on this recording, as on future albums, was a blend of jazz and pop, with rock influences. During this same period, Botti wrote the musical score for the feature film Caught, which was released in 1996.

Botti released his second solo album, Midnight Without You, in 1997, and followed it with Slowing Down the World in 1999, an album inspired by Botti's practice of yoga. In a biography published on the Verve record label's website, Botti said, "This record is the product of the marriage of my yoga study and my music. It's slightly more meditative and more organic than what I've done before."

Botti continued to play trumpet on other musicians' recordings, including Natalie Merchant. He toured with Joni Mitchell and an experimental rock band called Upper Extremities, and was a featured trumpet soloist in the film score for Playing by Heart. He even found time to do a little acting, appearing as a day player on the soap opera One Life to Life. By 2001 Botti was playing with Sting's band as a featured soloist on the Brand New Day world tour. "My role with Sting," Botti told Jazz Review online, "being a soloist with him, really put my trumpet playing in good condition; the interaction between us made me very confident and put me at the top of my game...."

During that same year, while on break from touring with Sting, Botti released his fourth album, Night Sessions, a recording that marked a turning point in his development as an artist. Asked to describe how it differed from his other recordings, he told Jazz Review online, "it's much more mature, I think. The thing that's different about this CD from my other CDs, as well as other jazz CDs, is if you remove the trumpet, no one is asking, 'Where's the trumpet?' It stands on its own musically, and it uses the trumpet as a voice to the point where you would think it's more of a singer's record." Recorded in a house overlooking Los Angeles, Night Sessions was strongly inspired by the vista of the city at night. "The whole record became this soundtrack for this house," Botti said in an interview on the ContemporaryJazz.com website.

Botti cited Sting as one of his prime influences in the album's creation. "Night Sessions--the maturity of it," he said on Sting's official website, "has a lot to do with being with Sting. On this album, I tried to do different things. I tried to borrow from Sting that it is possible to take the listener on a journey." Night Sessions was cowritten and produced by fellow Sting band member Kipper, who described the process of collaborating on each piece on Sting's website. "We were working on all of them simultaneously. We didn't have too much time. So I didn't want to get too bogged down perfecting something. By the end of the third week, we had visited each track several times."

Because Botti and Kipper's time between tours with Sting was limited, the album was written and recorded in just ten weeks. "We allotted one month to write the material and six weeks to record it and mix it," Botti told ContemporaryJazz.com. The tight deadline forced Botti and Kipper to be freer in their work. "When you have a gun to your head, when you really need to finish by a certain date it activates something in you. More like an improviser."

Botti also counts legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis among his musical influences. As he told Jazz Review online, "I admire the fact that Miles knew he couldn't be a great be-bopper, but that didn't matter because he focused on making great records around this incredible tone of his. I know the same thing, that I am not a be-bopper, and don't want to play fast over a lot of changes, even though I probably can."

To strike a balance between his session work, his tours with Sting and others, and his own solo work, Botti remains strongly focused on playing "texturally," and does not allow himself to be distracted by experiments with other playing styles. "My greatest weapon," he told Jazz Review, "will always be to understand what it is that I do." His major emphasis, he continued, is to create a distinctive voice for his trumpet that is all his own, and that will be instantly recognizable. "The trumpet," he said, "is a very nasal instrument, and I want to soften it in a way where I can sing to people through it. Miles did it to me, and I want to do it to the listener."

Asked what advice he had for up-and-coming musicians, Botti advised them in Jazz Review "to be original, to do their own thing," and stressed the importance of remaining true to one's vision, no matter what others might say. "Years ago," he recalled, "when I would tell people what I'm shooting for, they were like, 'Oh, you're dreaming.' [But w]hen you think of something long enough it becomes reality."

by Michael Belfiore

Chris Botti's Career

Began playing music at age ten; first played professionally while still in high school; moved to New York City after graduating from college, played with saxophonist George Coleman and renowned trumpeter Woody Shaw; worked as a session musician on recordings by Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and other pop stars; joined Paul Simon's band, 1990; recorded first solo album, First Wish; left Paul Simon's band, 1995; produced a track on Grammy Award-winning album by the Becker Brothers, 1994; composed musical score for the feature film Caught, 1996; released second solo album, Midnight Without You, 1997; released Slowing Down the World, 1999; toured with Sting; released fourth solo album, Night Sessions, 2001.

Famous Works

Recent Updates

September 30, 2003: Botti's album, Thousand Kisses Deep, was released. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_4/jazz.jsp, October 2, 2003.

Further Reading

Sources

PeriodicalsOnline

Visitor Comments Add a comment…

over 7 years ago

i love your music so much........my mom has alredy made 2 cds and started selling them...she plays the piano and its so inspiring to hear you play and to hear my mom play.......just a thought but you should consider playing in one of her songs that would be so amazing =] ......please wright back

over 7 years ago

the planets and sun are traveling over a half million miles an hour through the edge of the milky way galaxy. billions of years precede our birth and billions of years will follow after death. Yet in the eons of time, a special one is touched by a brief moment in time. Chris Botti! you are a beautiful old soul and it trancends through your music. we our blessed to listen to such a magnicant and beautiful soul. music is eternal

almost 8 years ago

Thanks Chris, you really gave me motivation to push, and now my freshman year started in LA, and im among the best players in the scool thanks

almost 8 years ago

Chris, thank you for your music! It's the reason why I began practicing enough in 7th grade and am going to start my freshman year in the fall of 09 at a music conservatory in philadelphia. I hope you are having fun doing what you love, and I can't wait to do the same!

about 8 years ago

Christopher you take me on a unique journey everytime I hear your beautiful music! The "voice" that comes out of your trumpet to me... is a voice that speaks of sexiness, softness, power, but at the same time vulnerable and real. All that wrapped into one incredible sound! Wow! You are amazing! I look forward to attending your San Diego concert in October 2009. I can't wait because I know it will be a once in a lifetime experience. Meanwhile I will keep listening to your cd's and embark on another unique journey of the mind, heart and soul. God has gifted you with a unique talent that touches in a unique way. Thank you!

about 8 years ago

AMAZING how your music takes over my mind, and send me to beautiful places in dark times. My daugther who is only 10 years old also loves your music and want me to take her to see you, in Miami. THANK YOU

about 8 years ago

Chris, You are so gifted, and play so beautifully, I cannot begin to tell you. I was never a fan of trumpet until I heard you! Now I am buying all your CDs. I hope to see you play at the Greek Theatre this summer, since I am in Los Angeles. I am a new fan, and love the depth and soul in your music. Thank you. P.S. Will you marry my daughter? She's gorgeous!!!

about 8 years ago

Chris, thank for sharing your gift with the rest of the world. My family all enjoy listening to your music. My son who is 10 and my daughter who is 7 listen to your music at night while they are trying to go to sleep.Continue to pass on the joy of music.

about 8 years ago

love u. i think u should come and visit our beautiful caribbean of trinidad. come to satchmo's restaurant please

over 8 years ago

i never thought the trumpet could sound so sexy....chris botti is an amazing talent.

over 8 years ago

Hi, chris... It`s unbelievevable to think of you reading this note. How you see... I don't Know english so much, I just try to tell you that your trumpet's sound is unique, and you give light to the Sting's work. I listen to it everyday and I like to play the bass while I do it. I feel like Macbride. From Colombia... congratulatios!!! Nahbi

over 8 years ago

Slow, deliberate, exacting ~ Chris Botti makes the trumpet talk and I hear what he is saying.... Thanks Chris Gloria

over 8 years ago

Hi Chris.I caught you several times on PBS....awesome.I am a retired band direc tor and I applaud you for taking such in terest in young students and the inspira tional advice you exude. Your group is the greatest and I look forward to hear ing and seeing you in the near future. So "Paisano", Ciao, Frank

almost 9 years ago

What can anyone say about you that hasn't already been said! I have all your CD's and those with DVD segments and your Wilshire Theater DVD. Am I missing any- thing? Saw you in Melbourne, Fl., had tickets but missed your Carnegie Hall concert (intense pain), but am coming to Tilles Center on l0-25 and hope you will sign my "Italia" CD which I didn't have with me in Melbourne (left it home, didn't know you were signing them). PLEASE! I did however, get chance to shake your hand and tell you how awesome you are. YOU are a gift. God bless and always safe travels.

almost 9 years ago

you are sooo wonderful...saw you perform here in evansville indiana last fall...was one of the best concerts i have ever attended...you have a remarkable talent and are a real inspiration to so many...have several of your CD's and play them constantly...hope you will return to evansville soon!..best wishes to you!!

about 9 years ago

HI CHRIS, MY HUSBAND AND I ARE SO VERY HAPPY WE FOUND YOU AND YOUR GOD GIVEN TALENT. YOUR MUSIC HAS BROUGHT BACK TO US WHAT WE FELT HAD BEEN LOST. WE LOVE YOU WITH MICHAEL BUBLE AND BOCELLI. WE GREW UP LISTENING TO THE BIG BANDS, SO I AM SURE YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN. SINATRA, DAMONE, SAMMY DAVIS, STAN KENTON WHEN MUSIC WAS SOMETHING TO ENJOY LISTENING TO. MAY GOD BLESS YOU EACH AND EVERYDAY AND ALLOW YOU TO CONTINUE GIVING THE WORLD SUCH BEAUTIFUL MUSIC THROUGH YOUR TALENT. FONDLY, ROSEMARY AND MAURICE MARIOTTI

over 9 years ago

Chris botti awesome!!!such an inspiration to the world. His music and talent is so beautiful. He expresses his true beauty thru his trumphet..He is so genuine and his music just says it all. Mr. Botti thank you so much for your beautiful talent that you share with the world. I will be a true fan forever!!! Sincerely, linda in florida.

over 9 years ago

HAVING BEEN A CLASSICAL CONCERT CELLIST ALL MY LIFE IN EUROPE AND THE U.S., CHRIS IS THE FIRST TRUMPET SOLOIST, IN A TRADITION OF GREAT MUSICIANS, WHO KNOWS HOW TO PRODUCE A SWEET TONE...BEAUTIFUL AND PIANISSIMO, IN ADDITION TO A HEARTFELT EXPRESSION, IN EVERY PHRASE HE CREATES. GAYLE SMITH, ACTON, CA