Chris Botti ready to perform for Deer Valley’s ‘fantastic’ audience
Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Chris Botti is no stranger to Park City.
He’s performed at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater with violinist and fellow Grammy winner Joshua Bell during one of last year’s St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concerts, and with the Utah Symphony during the Deer Valley Music Festival in 2011.
“I’m telling you, not only is [the summer] an incredible time to be there, but the audiences are fantastic,” Botti told The Park Record during a telephone call from New York. “We’ve had such a good time playing Park City throughout the years.”
This time around, Botti will play with another Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert alumni, violinist Lucia Micarelli, on Thursday, July 21.
This is a reunion for the two, who first toured together in 2008.
“We first met in 2004 when she was a soloist as a member of [singer] Josh Groban’s world tour,” Botti said. “We became friends and then she guested on my ‘Live in Boston’ DVD.”
The song “Emmanuel,” which Micarelli played on, has become one of Botti’s most popular songs.
“She’s really responsible in so many ways for making that song as great as it is,” he said. “She is a unique artist. Anyone that sees her tells me she has so much passion and is a fantastic artist.”
In addition to Micarelli, Botti has had the opportunity to work with other musicians throughout his career.
His first big gig was with Frank Sinatra and he has since played with Andrea Bocelli, Vince Gill, Tony Bennett, Barbara Streisand, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Steven Tyler, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon.
“In many ways, being around incredible musicians like that is why we play music,” Botti said. “It’s so much fun. It’s an opportunity to not only show respect but also learn new ways of phrasing and how to run my band and how to adapt my band to be on tour with people like Sting, Joshua [Bell] or Lucia.
“I just took my band in March and we did a six city tour with Sting as our singer,” he said. “It was great fun to do that and those types of collaborations, for lack of a better word, is something that I’ve utilized throughout the course of my career to great advantage. And I’m happy to continue to do that.”
Botti and the artists work hard to select the songs that fit the collaboration.
“In the case of Joshua, we had a few pieces that were written specifically for Joshua and my band,” he said. “In the case of Lucia, we’ve known each other for so long that it all happened so organically. “
Although Botti has become one of the biggest selling American instrumental artists, he still finds ways to hone his craft.
“For the past two years, more than any point of my life, I have been working on the actual craft of the instrument,” he said. “What that means is that I practice four or five hours a day and I’m loving it.
“I do live in a hotel in New York, which is an odd thing, but I go to a music school in the west part of Greenwich Village and I practice,” Botti said. “So bettering my sound, technique, endurance and range has been the real prominent force for me in the last couple of years.”
Botti is also grateful he plays the trumpet.
“Thank God I wasn’t drawn to the drums because there are a lot of drummers out there and the competition would have been [crazy],” he laughed. “To tell you the truth it was the power of television.”
Botti saw Doc Severinsen on the “Tonight Show” and that piqued his interest.
“It was awesome to see him,” Botti said. “He had a flamboyant, show-business attitude about him, but at his core, I had the opportunity to hang out with him later in my career — he is a really nice guy from Oregon, which was great because I’m from Oregon.”
However, it was Miles Davis that showed Botti another world beyond even Severinsen and Maynard Ferguson.
“It led me to this brooding and beautiful melancholy, which Miles had at the forefront,” Botti said. “It was at that time that I wanted to make music my life’s work.”
Not sticking to one style has been Botti’s goal from the beginning.
“My first paying professional gig was playing with Frank Sinatra and going from that to playing with Paul Simon and Sting for many years, is fun for me,” he said. “I think more than anything, having respect from your peers is the currency of life, especially in the music business. Working with those types of artists makes me feel lucky and proud.”
The Park City Institute will present Chris Botti and Lucia Micarelli for the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater on Thursday, July 21, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.bigstarsbrightnightsconcerts.org.
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