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. Botti was nominated for two Grammy awards including Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Impressions, trumpeter Chris Botti's new Sony CD, is the latest in a stellar parade of albums -- starting with 2004's When I Fall In Love and continuing with To Love Again, Italia and the CD/DVD Chris Botti In Boston -- that have firmly established him as the world's largest selling jazz instrumentalist. Add to that a cluster of Grammy nominations and three #1 albums on Billboard's Jazz Albums listings.
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.
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."