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Why you should get to know Chris Botti (last name doesn’t rhyme with hottie, though really should)

It’s official, I have a crush. And he’s coming back to Australia in June.

Chris Botti (pronounced Boat-ee) is a trumpeter from the US.

Although jazz is obviously his first love, he also plays songs from the genres of pop, classical, rock and more.

He’s sold over three million albums, making him the highest selling adult contemporary artist in America.

He chats and charms the audience during his gigs, just like a trumpet playing Frank Sinatra or Michael Buble.

He’s played for Presidents Obama, Clinton and Carter.

He’s been a hit on Oprah.

He’s won GRAMMYs.

He was the youngest ever musician to join Frank Sinatra’s band (even dropping out of school to do it) and over the past three decades Chris Botti has recorded and performed with the best in music including; Sting, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, John Mayer, Andrea Bocelli, Joshua Bell and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.

Chris came out to Australia last year for a promo trip and wowed everyone he met.

He played two relatively small gigs, one at The Basement in Sydney and another at The National Theatre in St Kilda. About a quarter of the tickets were kept for media and the rest went on sale. We didn’t really know what to expect when these went on sale as Chris was relatively unheard of in Australia.

Fast forward to when he was here and both shows were sell outs. Apparently the name Chris Botti means a lot to people…

I’m sure that his unbelievable band helped.

On vocals, Lisa Fischer. She’s been the backing vocalist for The Rolling Stones for the past 15 years. Her range is insane she hits the high notes of  Mariah Carey and the low notes of Andrea Bocelli and her voice is so flexible it’s like a super precise rubber band.

During one part of last year’s concerts, Chris was scatting (freestyle playing, literally making it up as he went) and Lisa was scatting along with him, in perfect harmony. Too stunning for words really. She’s also recorded with everyone from Sting and Aretha Franklin, to Tina Turner and Bobby McFerrin and, of course, The Rolling Stones.

Then there’s pianist Billy Childs. Again, a star in is own right. Composer and pianist, William (Billy) Childs has won three GRAMMYs (one of those was just this year for best instrumental composition) and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

His playing is sublime – fast, furious, tender, technically correct and inspired – jaw dropping stuff. I seriously spent much of last year’s concert just laughing out aloud from sheer, ridiculous amazement at how good he was.

Billy Kilson was on drums. To say this man has incredible rhythm is like saying that Burlesque is sexy – it’s just a fact. Yet another GRAMMY winner, Billy has performed in some very hot bands, particularly with the Dave Holland Quintet.

His sense of timing is something else, always changing up meters and tempos. In Billy’s world, the sun wouldn’t rise at dawn and set at dusk, I reckon it’d be scooting back and forward across the horizon at odd intervals throughout the day and night like a dazzling comet.

There’s others of course, including the willowy, clever violinist Caroline Campbell, but I’m already spoiling the surprise – you should really just get a ticket and see for yourself.

John Shand is known for being a tough critic. His review in the Sydney Morning Herald shows just how magical a musician Chris Botti is, ending with a declaration of “Do not miss this band”.

He even raved about Chris again in his wrap of the best acts for 2010.

“The year’s surprise was American trumpeter Chris Botti… exceeded all expectations… the searing trumpet and scorching band flowed through The Basement like molten lava.

A very beautiful part of working behind the scenes in the music biz is when an artist gives you a shout out from the stage. It’s certainly never necessary or expected but it’s a downright lovely surprise if it happens.  Last year, I was enjoying the sublime music when Chris not only gave me a shout out, he dedicated a song to me. ‘The Very Thought Of You’ will forever remain in my head (accompanied by the vision of me turning beet red.)

Just another reason why I was so happy to hear that The Frontier Touring Company in association with the Melbourne International Jazz Festival are bringing Chris and his seven piece band back to Australia this June and he’ll also have a new album out in mid-May called ‘This Is Chris Botti’. This new album is still being put together as I type but I’ll be sure to get you details on it as soon as they’re in.

His previous album (with DVD included) – In Boston was recorded live with Chris’s band and the Boston Pops Orchestra with renowned conductor Keith Lockhart.  To add to an already auspicious live concert occasion, Chris invited an extraordinary variety of musical artists, including Sting, Josh Groban, Stephen Tyler, Yo Yo Ma, John Mayer and many more to join him on-stage for a pair of once-in-a-lifetime concerts at Boston’s historic Symphony Hall in September 2008.  The recorded result is a superb selection of songs and performances and is the perfect introduction to Chris Botti. See the clip below for just a taste…

“You can see a star a mile off” – Sting

“A double dose of sophistication shot up with vision and grace” – AMAZON.COM

“If Botti was the star of the night he was closely followed by a shower of meteorites” – Australian Stage

“You’ll kick yourself if you miss Chris Botti in concert. Sacrifice that new pair of heels or a few cocktails and go catch Chris in action instead, you won’t regret it “ - Bec Brown Says

CHRIS BOTTI – JUNE 2011 – AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES

SUNDAY 5TH – DAME ELISABETH MURDOCH HALL, MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE
As a guest of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
Phone: 03 9699 3333 or www.melbournejazz.com
Or Ticketmaster Ph: 136 100 or www.ticketmaster.com.au

MONDAY 6TH – DAME ELISABETH MURDOCH HALL,  MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE
As a guest of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
Phone: 03 9699 3333 or www.melbournejazz.com
Or Ticketmaster Ph: 136 100 or www.ticketmaster.com.au

WEDNESDAY 8TH – CANBERRA THEATRE, CANBERRA
Phone: 02 6275 2700 or www.canberratheatrecentre.com.au

FRIDAY 10TH – THE TIVOLI (SEATED MODE), BRISBANE
Phone: Ticketek 132 849 or www.ticketek.com.au

SATURDAY 11TH – CITY RECITAL HALL ANGEL PLACE, SYDNEY
Phone: 02 8256 2222 / 1300 797 118 or www.cityrecitalhall.com

For further tour information visit www.frontiertouring.com.au

For further artist news and information visit www.chrisbotti.com

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