- Simon Piening
Following a highly successful tour in 2010, Chris Botti the Trumpet King and his seven piece band return in 2011 as special guests of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Australian Stage’s Dione Joseph joins Botti in conversation to find out what brings the living legend back to our shores.
Chris Botti (pronounced Boat-ee) has a fondness for Australia that has all the beginnings of a long term love affair: “I’m so excited about returning to the land Down Under” says Botti, “I’m infatuated with the place – the food – and especially the coffee!”
And of course the fans. No matter where he’s playing there are always stories of how his music has changed someone’s life and its these personal, and often emotional, glimpses into other people’s lives that continues to inspire: “So many times people come up to me and say how one of my songs has become a favourite – that it was played at their wedding or that it was their ‘song’ or how the music just made them feel that little bit better – and that always continues to humble me”.
It is a combination of truths, humour and charisma that make Botti the star that he is and no matter how large the venue or how big the crowd, the performance delivered is always personal and intimate: “I believe its better and healthier to appreciate all sorts of venues and allow the enthusiasm of the people to take you – so that no matter if performing in a tiny theatre or an outdoor garden or even the great Carnegie Hall you always feel you are giving your audience a chance to experience something that will move them”.
My funny Valentine, a beautiful rendition that Botti often plays at his concerts is a personal favourite and audiences this year may be lucky enough to hear the very song that first inspired a twelve-year-old to learn the trumpet and make a lasting contribution to the world of jazz. In an interesting turn of events, it was this song that Botti most recently played at the White House and he did so with none other than the man who first inspired him – Herbie Hancock himself:
“It was the craziest experience ever – here I was re-living my twelve-year-old dream while playing at a State Dinner in front of Presidents Obama, Clinton and Carter, the President of China, Hu Jintao and with Herbie Hancock – Wow! That has definitely up there with one of the most memorable moments for me.”
With close to 300 days on the road Botti makes 'working 'round the clock' sound like a joke but when he does have some spare time this muso like everyone just wants to "chillout, do yoga and catch up with family and friends".
But music is what keeps Botti and his stellar team of musicians on track and right now they're hurtling towards the southern hemisphere – so get ready Australia for some of the finest music jazz has to offer.
CHRIS BOTTI AUSTRALIAN TOUR – JUNE 2011
Sunday 5th & Monday 6 June
ELISABETH MURDOCH HALL, MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE
Part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival
03 9699 3333 | www.melbournejazz.com
Wednesday 8th June
CANBERRA THEATRE, CANBERRA
02 6275 2700 | www.canberratheatrecentre.com.au
Friday 10th June
THE TIVOLI (SEATED MODE), BRISBANE
Ticketek 132 849 | www.ticketek.com.au
Saturday 11th June
CITY RECITAL HALL ANGEL PLACE, SYDNEY
02 8256 2222 / 1300 797 118 | www.cityrecitalhall.com
Top Right – Chris Botti. Photo – Fabrizio Ferri