Girlfriend music. That's what it is. Last night in Kettering ("The middle of nowhere in Ohio," as Botti put it), Chris Botti's trumpet soared. He lubricated the crowd with compliments, telling us that while he had played Carnegie Hall two nights ago and Montreal the night before, The Fraze outside of Dayton is his favorite touring venue.
Despite threatening clouds, the weather held, including some refreshing breezes perfectly timed for those moments when women wanted to lean into their dates a little closer. Botti isn't just a great jazz trumpet player either. Turns out he's quite the story teller. He treated us to the history of Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue" album before playing one of the songs, he talked about Leonard Cohen before playing "Hallelujah," the theme song from Shrek 1. He thanked the pope for the royalties he's drawing off his current hit from new CD "Italia": Ave Maria (the opener).
Botti joked with the audience freely, seemed perfectly at ease and humble about his recent success. He stood aside for lengthy solos by his ridiculously competent band members. Botti told us that Google brought he and his drummer together. His sole goal at the time was to find a drummer "good enough to piss Sting off" since they were touring together. Apparently, he succeeded. This drummer isn't just skilled, he has a drummer's wit, leading the audience along with quiet, patient beats and then suddenly speeding up, throwing a stick, twirling them. A real showman.
Botti sported a shiny brown blazer and dark jeans. Lights were kind to him. He calls himself "the palest guy to ever play jazz trumpet." His blue eyes glow.
The whole evening felt like a short trip to Italy, in fact, from cabernet to his rendition of the theme to "Cinema Paradiso." His trumpet-playing has this purity in sound, both soft and powerful, clear and resonant, emotional. So beautiful! Who knew trumpets could be so sensual? Ahhhh.