Published on 19 February 2018

There’s little need for Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti to toot his own horn. 

By: Melanie Lee

Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti is the largest-sellling American instrumental artist.  He has four No. 1 jazz albums, sold over four million albums and collaborated with some of the best musicians such as Sting, Josh Groban and Lady Gaga.  Botti is currently on a world tour and will be in Singapore next week for a sold-out concert at Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay. He tells The A List more about his music and what to expect at his upcoming concert.

How did the trumpet end up being the instrument of your choice?

My mom is responsible for exposing me to music and got me to learn music at an early age. Being a piano player, my mom first got me into piano but as many kids do, I rebelled against it and I wanted to do something different. That’s when I saw Doc Severinsen (a famous American jazz trumpeter) on television and thought playing the trumpet would be cool.

What drew you to jazz?

When I was twelve years old I heard the first three notes of Miles Davis’ “My Funny Valentine” and at that moment, I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician.

What are some of your favourite jazz standards that you’ve covered?

I’ve had great success playing “When I Fall in Love”.  It was the title of my most successful record so that’s always a great one to play There’s also My “Funny Valentine”. Like I said before, it was the first song I heard Miles Davis play when I was twelve, and the song that made me want to be a jazz musician.

What has been your most meaningful composition and why?

“Tango Suite” off my album Impressions, due to the fact that it was co-written as an improvisation with me and Herbie Hancock. It was a great honor to work with him.

You’ve collaborated with some of the best musicians/singers in the world – what do you think is needed for a successful music collaboration?

Respect between two people.  Everyone that I’ve worked with and have had on my records, I’ve really respected them first and then we work out the music.  My admiration for all those individuals is by far the most important thing.

You’ve been in the music business for a long time – what do you do to ensure you grow and keep things fresh?

Practice many hours a day and also changing the different members of the group to have a fresh sound underneath my trumpet.

You were in Singapore a few years back for Sing Jazz 2015 – what was your impression of the jazz scene here?

We love coming over to Singapore! It’s a beautiful city and we love playing for the audiences there but I’m not in a good enough place to be able to make an assessment about what the scene is like.  I feel like we’re on the road so much I’ve never been able to really check out the local jazz scene.  We’ll have to figure out a way for me to have longer stays in Singapore!

What do you hope to bring to your audience in Singapore this time round?

This is by far my best band.  We have three special guests, a fantastic violinist and two singers that we’re bringing along with us so it’s a real treat of a show. I’m really proud of what we’ve assembled and are able to bring to Singapore.

What advice would you give to aspiring jazz musicians?

Remain true to your craft and practice a lot.  Success can involve a lot of luck but if you stay on your instrument and work hard on your craft, in the long run, you’ll be in good shape.

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