Although trumpeter Chris Botti is, by his own admission, neither a particularly daring improviser nor a bravura technician, he's carved out a highly lucrative niche in the jazz world by emphasizing melody and mood. Whether paying tribute to his Italian-American heritage on his most recent CD, Italia, or tackling standards from the Great American Songbook, Botti's generally good taste in tunes and his warm, burnished tone have made him a popular success without pandering to purely commercial interests. His live shows are enhanced greatly by a band stocked with first-rate jazz players, including the versatile drummer Billy Kilson and the pianist Peter Martin, a St. Louis native who joined Botti's group last year after a long stint as musical director for singer Dianne Reeves.
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