Chris Botti will open the festival on the Flynn MainStage on Sunday, June 14, 2015 at 8pm. Tickets are available at the FlynnTix Regional Box Office at 153 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05401, by calling 802-86FLYNN or order online here. Below is a preview as a part of the festival’s partnership with the Burlington Writers Workshop.
Contribution by James H. Gamble, Burlington Writers Workshop
The word “expressive” is commonly used when describing Chris Botti’s trumpet playing. It seems an apt term. Listening to his interpretation of “Prelude in C Minor,” what strikes me most is not the drama of the piece (although Chopin can be dramatic), it’s the care and devotion he gives each note. I mean, really, each and every note. It’s as though in that fleeting moment it is the only note in the world.
It’s a lot of tenderness for a jazz musician. Although that’s a pretty limiting classification for someone so diverse as Botti. Consider that his 2012 album Impressions won the Grammy for “Best Pop Instrumental Album.” This is a guy who’s not afraid to mix it up. He toured extensively with Paul Simon in the ‘90s, and he’s performed with the likes of Sting, Steven Tyler, and John Mayer. On Impressions he collaborates with a range of artists, from tenor Andrea Bocelli to country star Vince Gill to rocker Mark Knopfler. Wow.
But make no mistake, Botti has jazz in his bones. He was inspired to take up the trumpet at the age of twelve after hearing Miles Davis. Later, he studied with the highly regarded jazz educator David Baker, the great trumpet teacher Bill Adam, jazz trumpeter Woody Shaw, and jazz saxophonist George Coleman. And in his early career he honed his skills in the company of Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, and Natalie Cole. We should not be surprised that he’s had four #1 albums on Billboard’s Jazz Albums listings.
Anyone lucky enough to see Botti when he hits the Flynn Mainstage on June 14, wrapping up the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, is in for a special treat. What’s fun is anticipating all the possibilities. It could be jazz, it could be pop; maybe a little classical, folk or Latin. It won’t matter. With Chris Botti, whatever genre he chooses will be his own. And however he chooses to express it, we will be impressed.