Botti wants to take Deer Valley audience for a ride
July 22, 2011
Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti turned to music when he realized he wasn’t going to be a champion basketball player.
"It was a hobby that intersected with the fact that I wasn’t going to become Michael Jordan," Botti said during an interview from his home in Los Angeles, Calif. "I think every kid who runs into the fact that they are not going to become a professional athlete has to recognize that and say, ‘OK, now what do I do that will make my life sort of meaningful?’
"Music was that for me and helped me separate myself from the pack as an individual," he said.
Botti will perform with the Utah Symphony at the Snow Park Amphitheater with the Utah Symphony during the Deer Valley Music Festival tonight, July 23, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available at ArtTix at (888) 451-ARTS or (801) 355-2787.
Botti was 12 when he discovered the emotive trumpet of Miles Davis.
"It’s the one thing that made me want to become a jazz musician," he said. "The haunting, beautiful, melodic portion of his career was what I had stumbled upon and it resonated with me."
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As the years passed, Botti found in addition to practice and playing, he had to have a passion for touring.
"I’m on the road 300 days a year and while to some people that may sound glamorous, it’s all about being void of a dog or a cat or a family," he said. "You have to really love performing for people. You have to be into it to a point where you sacrifice a lot in order to perform every night, and people, in general, don’t really want to do that."
The sacrifices have paid off for the musician.
"It’s always a great honor for me to walk on the stage every night and have people at the shows," he said. "While an actor’s reward is getting an Academy Award and standing in front of an audience and giving a speech, my ‘Academy Award’ is literally being able to play from town to town. It could be Park City. It could be Beijing or Bangkok or London. It doesn’t matter because to me every city is radically similar all over the world."
Botti also appreciates the audience members who choose to come to his concerts.
"Adults have to think twice before they actually come to the show," he said. "It’s a really great feeling to me to know that my music resonates throughout the world as an artist enough to get adults to call a babysitter and come out to a show."
Throughout his career, Botti has shared the stage and played with an array of master musicians of many styles including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, tenor Andrea Bocelli, pop singer/songwriter John Mayer and violinist Joshua Bell.
The other night he had dinner with Aerosmith’s flamboyant lead singer Steven Tyler, whom he worked with for the "In Boston" CD/DVD set, which was released in 2009.
"His music couldn’t get any further away from mine, but you’re talking about a guy who has achieved greatness in his craft," Botti said. "Although he’s a rock icon, we can talk with each other and be equals in music, and when we play music together, it seems effortless.
"I have found that you take musical risks with people whom you respect," he said. "I’ve been fortunate to do that."
These duets have emerged from Botti’s reputation as a musician’s musician.
"Recognition from your peers is the most powerful thing in the world," he said. "I say this to young people: ‘If you can impress your peers, then you’re way better off than entering any competition. It’s one thing to enter a competition and force judges to judge you, but it’s another thing to have people speak up about your talent if they know your or see you play a club or somewhere.’
"I’ve been fortunate to impress some of my peers, even those who I don’t know very well, such as rock musicians or classical superstars," he said. "It’s a great feeling."
Back in 2004, Botti was asked to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Others on the bill included Joss Stone, Cyndi Lauper and symphonic-rock band Polyphonic Spree.
"All of those types of events are fantastic for many reasons, one is being able to participate with the other artists who are also on the bill," he said. "It was also a great honor to play on TV for that celebration."
Botti likes the fact that people remember his romantic music, but also want them to be moved by his other, more technical works.
"I want them to feel the visceral effect of technique and flash," he said. "Fortunately I’m one of those artists who likes to play all the stuff the fans want to hear, but during the show we add in some spice to make the performance a night of entertainment, and it goes all over the place. The show moves in all different directions to get the audience to go on the ride."
Jazz trumpeter Chris Botti will perform with the Utah Symphony tonight, July 23, at the Snow Park Amphitheatre during the Deer Valley Music Festival. The music will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 to $85 for reserved seating, $30 for lawn seating, $15 for students and youth and $90 for families. Tickets are available at (888) 451-ARTS or (801) 355-ARTS. Tickets can also be purchased at http://www.artTix.org or http://www.utahsymphony.org.