BEAVER CREEK — If instruments have personalities, then the trumpet is the thespian of the music world. At one moment, he’s standing below Juliet’s balcony, professing his love; at the next, he’s creating an electric fervor that incites crowds to act. From mellow to militaristic, symphonic to sybaritic, the trumpet can adapt to almost any genre of music, creating a multitude of worlds with a few measures of music and there’s no one better to share these worlds than Chris Botti. Renowned as one of the important, innovative figures of the contemporary music world, Botti is performing at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on Thursday night.
With a style that begins in jazz but resists classification in one genre, Botti is known for his ability to transcend genres, gaining appreciation from a pop music audience in addition to jazz enthusiasts. It’s this aptitude for surpassing what a listener might expect that demonstrates Botti’s talent on the trumpet.
“I try to really steer clear from any types of labels of what music is what,” Botti said. “’Is it good or is it bad?’ There are really only two types of music in my opinion. Or, is it relatable or not relatable to someone; that’s the most important thing. At the end of the day, I hope to make music that is as relatable to as many people as possible.”
high music standards
Botti’s early career allowed him to hone his skills in settings ranging from the Buddy Rich Big Band and Frank Sinatra to Natalie Cole and Joni Mitchell. Botti also played extensively with Paul Simon throughout the 1990s and had an especially creative association with Sting, the lessons from which reached beyond the concert stage.
“I certainly owe Sting most of my career for giving me my big breaks,” Botti said. “The greatest thing I learned from him was finding passion in routine: getting up, practicing, doing yoga, traveling with the band. In many ways, I have patterned my career after what I learned being around Sting for those two or three years on the Brand New Day Tour.”
Botti is now major artist in his own right, performing worldwide and selling more than three million albums. In 2013, Botti won the Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category for his 2012 release, “Impressions.” He was also nominated in 2008 for his album “Italia” and received three nominations in 2010 for the live album “Chris Botti In Boston.”
Botti continues to collaborate with a diverse group of musicians; his most recent album, “Impressions” highlights romantic music from around the world and features artists like Herbie Hancock, Mark Knopfler, Andrea Bocelli, Vince Gill and others. His concert at the Vilar Performing Arts Center will feature music that spans his recording history, from “When I Fall In Love” up until the present, transitioning from jazz standards to classical masterpieces to original compositions.
Banish the idea of a single man on stage with his trumpet, though.
“I honestly have had so many people, like my friends, come to me and say, ‘Chris, I’m coming to your show tomorrow. I have never seen you play before, so is it just you and the trumpet?’” Botti said. “They don’t realize it’s a night of entertainment with an incredible jazz group that moves around from pop to classical to jazz. You have all these lines being blurred and it’s incredibly fun!”