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Chris Botti Biography

Home > Music > B > Botti, Chris > Biography

Born: 1962/10/12
Birth Place: Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Genres: Jazz, Smooth Jazz

Chris Botti (born Christopher Stephen Botti October 12, 1962), is an American trumpeter and composer. He was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Corvallis and spent two years of his childhood growing up in Italy. Botti plays a Martin Committee large bore Handcraft trumpet made in 1939, and uses a #3 silver plated mouthpiece from Bach made in 1926, having recently retired his 1920 3C Bach mouthpiece. He uses a Leblanc Vacchiano Harmon mute from the 1950s.

At the age of 17, he ended up at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon by convincing his high school to allow him to fulfill his remaining senior year credits there. It was here Botti played alongside his friend, trombonist and future Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Todd Field. After graduating from high school, Botti studied under jazz educator David Baker and trumpet professor Bill Adam at Indiana University. Botti was also the recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts which allowed him to study with trumpeter Woody Shaw and saxophonist George Coleman during two consecutive summer breaks.

Botti left Indiana University during his senior year for short touring stints with Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich. In 1985, he moved to New York City to hone his craft as a studio musician. In 1990, he began a decade long touring and recording relationship with Paul Simon which broadened his exposure to other singers. During that period, he also performed/recorded with Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler, Joni Mitchell, Natalie Merchant, Scritti Politti, Roger Daltrey and others.

While on tour with Simon, he met saxophonist Michael Brecker, which led to Botti producing the Brecker Brothers’ “Out of the Loop.” The album won a 1995 Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance.

Botti's solo debut, “First Wish,” was released in 1995 on Verve Records. His second solo effort, “Midnight Without You,” which included a collaboration with Blue Nile vocalist Paul Buchanan, appeared in 1997. These were followed by “Slowing Down The World” on Verve in 1999, which included vocal contributions from Sting and Jonatha Brooke.

Botti was also a member of Bruford Levin Upper Extremities, a more experimental, jazz fusion-oriented group. He composed the score and recorded a soundtrack for the 1996 film “Caught.”

Botti was introduced to Columbia Records by Bobby Colomby, drummer and founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, who went on to become his producer and manager. Botti’s first Columbia release was “Night Sessions” in 2001. This was followed in 2002 by “December,” a holiday album, which included an original composition by Richard Marx. The project represented the only time Botti has performed vocals, appearing on two tracks.

“A Thousand Kisses Deep,” was released in 2003 and contained a group of originals and covers that accented Botti’s crossover appeal as both a jazz and pop musician. “When I Fall In Love” followed in 2004, which featured a more traditional jazz sound than its predecessor.

“To Love Again: The Duets,” released in 2005, continued where the previous album left off with more lush orchestral jazz via the London Session Orchestra, this time showcasing guest vocalists as well as a handful of instrumental tracks.

2006 marked his first PBS collaboration, “Chris Botti Live: With Orchestra and Special Guests,” released in early 2006. The album and platinum-certified DVD included duets with Sting, Burt Bacharach, Gladys Knight, Jill Scott and Renee Olstead.

In September 2007, Botti released an album entitled “Italia.” The album placed focus on Botti's Italian roots through such songs as “Ave Maria,” “Venice,” “Estatè” and the title track “Italia,” on which he partnered with Andrea Bocelli. In December 2007, the album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album.

Early in 2009, Botti released his second album/DVD PBS project, “Chris Botti in Boston.” Performing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Botti shared the stage with Yo Yo Ma, Steven Tyler, Josh Groban, Katharine McPhee, John Mayer, Sting and others. In 2011 his solo album, “This Is Chris Botti,” was released.