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Grammy winning trumpeter Chris Botti has returned in top form with Italia, his most lushly romantic and expressive album to date. Featuring duets with some of today's biggest international stars including Andrea Bocelli, Paula Cole, and Dean Martin, Botti's rich and articulate musical collection is truly beautiful, enchanting, and understatedly elegant.
If Dean Martin had lived to hear Chris Botti's spin on "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," the song he recorded with characteristic suavity in 1957, crooning might have given way to swooning--like the other 11 tracks on Italia, Botti's tribute to Italy, it's long on lushness and suffused with the genre-busting sweep that's made the trumpeter a household name. Botti's interpretative gift, as displayed on earlier discs such as 2004's When I Fall in Love, is a life-giving thing: What once was charming becomes captivating, and what once was standard becomes respectfully rebuilt for inter-generational appreciation. Italia casts its spell over compositions that yield to him especially well--"Deborah's Theme" from "Once Upon a Time in America" and "Gabriel's Oboe" from "The Mission" get new richness, and "Ave Maria" melts the heart anew. The Paula Cole turn on "The Very Thought of You" scores for its understated vocal, but the newly composed title track, with Andrea Bocelli, may be the album's most gripping; it's a double dose of sophistication shot up with vision and grace. -Tammy La Gorce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Special Footnote, Christopher Botti or Chris Botti (born October 12, 1962) is a trumpeter and composer; born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Corvallis, and spent two years of his childhood growing up in Italy --- His earliest musical influence was his mother, a classically trained pianist and part-time piano teacher --- He plays a Martin Committee Handcraft trumpet made in 1940, and uses a 3 silver plated mouthpiece from Bach made in 1926, having recently retired his 1920 3C Bach mouthpiece --- In college, Botti studied under David Baker and Bill Adam at Indiana University --- As of 2006, Botti has recorded eight solo albums --- His first few efforts could safely be classified as smooth jazz, though critic Alex Henderson argues that Botti's music was a cut above much of the genre; reviewing his 1999 effort, Slowing Down the World, Henderson writes "it would be a major mistake to lump it in with the outright elevator muzak that Kenny G, Dave Koz, Najee, and Richard Elliot were known for ... Botti is capable of a lot more." --- Though still featuring heavy contributions from pop music singers, Botti's more recent albums have found him exploring more traditional jazz territory, with lush orchestral arrangements even earning comparisons to Gil Evans.Read more ›
"Italia" is an object lesson in how to expand the range of small-group jazz.
Botti's knowledge of the jazz tradition is absolute, but the interest here lies in his integration of other forms like pop, classical, soundtracks of Ennio Morricone and opera.
Usually that type of experimentation can be a messy, muddled business.
Moulded with controlled eloquence and subtle dissonances, the tracks have a peculiar, surprising beauty, each one affecting the next, and creating a meditative yet majestic symphony : "Italia".
Generous spirited and open, with impeccable ensemble blowing and superb singing by Paula Cole and Andrea Bocelli, the high points are the vibrant "Venice" and the delicate "The Very Thought of You".
Botti stands revealed, surprisingly, as an innovative visionary, blending his eloquent and bold trumpet with some charismatic compositions from the opera and from the world of the movies' soundtracks.
"Nessun Dorma" (Italian for "Let no one sleep") is an aria from the final act of Puccini's opera titled Turandot and has been recorded and made famous wordwide by late legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti, but also recorded by pianist Ramsey Lewis, vocalist Sarah Brightman and and several others , even by an incredible...Aretha Franklin on the CD "Ultimate Divas"...
"Caruso," written by Italian singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla 21 years ago to honor the famed Italian opera singer, has been recorded by many, including Luciano Pavarotti, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, guitarist and vocalist Oscar Castro-Neves, vocalist Josh Groban and Russell Watson.Read more ›
Some may complain that Botti is getting too far away from jazz with so many traditional songs included, but they would be sadly wrong; Botti is bringing jazz into compositions that benefit from it. Listen to "Ave Maria", and attempt to think of a better version of it. He has opened the songs up, and enriched our enjoyment of them. This isn't a "pure" jazz album, but music to make one feel good about the world, if only briefly, and about oneself.
The artist is a near-genius. Buy this CD and enjoy, over and over again.
Most recent customer reviews
Another good cd of relaxing music with great guests to add a nice touch to this musicPublished 5 months ago by Pierre Aubin
This CD is essentially a Botti sampler, so it's very difficult to get into a groove of any kind while listening to it. Recordng quality/mastering is good.Published 5 months ago by Howard Carson
I don't know what else to say. This album is classic and powerful. Beautiful pieces played by an incredibly talented man. I could listen to Chris Botti all day.Published on March 13 2014 by Tammy Reynolds
Another great album by Chris Botti. Wonderful orchestrations with power that comforts rather than racks your nerves. Definitely worth taking the time for.Published on Sept. 27 2013 by Robert C.
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