Classical Music

Trumpet Legend Chris Botti Returns To Houston Symphony

Chris Botti will bring his signature sound to Houston this weekend.
Chris Botti will bring his signature sound to Houston this weekend.
POPS audience favorite Chris Botti and his movie star good looks will return to the Jones Hall stage to join Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke and the Houston Symphony for three performances April 14 - 16. Fans will have the opportunity to livestream the performance on Saturday, April 15.

Favorites like "Hallelujah" and "You Don’t Know What Love Is" from Keep ‘Em Flying, "When I Fall in Love" from One Minute to Zero will dot the programming.

“It's a complete show with two singers and [my ensemble band]. The show moves around from classical music to pop music to serious jazz and mood music. The arc of the actual concert is so important,” Botti said. “Ultimately, that's why we are such a unique show to see. We’ve built up a very large audience that knows that our show is perhaps the only place you can see that wide ranging, all-star band in so many different categories of music. It's like almost like eight little mini-concerts going on over the course the night.”

For this show, his band will be represented in violin, drums, bass, guitar, piano and saxophone. The Houston Symphony will also accompany Botti and friends.

Speaking of what makes this type of music so enjoyable, Botti says, “It's the musicians. You're going to hear and see the greatest drummer, the greatest piano player, the greatest violinist and all of the music genres switch up all over the place. It is done on such an incredibly high level. With the Houston Symphony backing us, it makes it all that much more special.”
Botti’s resume provides a clue that he knows of which he speaks. For more than two decades, he has amassed an astounding variety of honors, including multiple Gold and Platinum albums, to become the nation’s largest selling instrumental artist. His mesmerizing performances with legends such as Sting, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Yo-Yo Ma, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Andrea Bocelli have cemented his place as one of the most brilliant and inspiring forces of the contemporary music scene.

He and his band’s brilliance have kept them in high demand. He estimates he spends at least 275 days per year traveling and performing.

“We probably have three months off a year, scattered. From November 2 until March 6, we worked every single night. That includes Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve…two shows a night,” he said.

Spending so much time together, it’s easy to imagine that the band becomes more like a family over time.

“We're a great, dysfunctional family! But we have a couple of these guys in the band now that are great. I mean, it's my band, and I think that it's my job to keep picking out new, brilliant prodigies and young people that are up and coming and, and to be a star picker,” Botti said.

He mentioned that a band member will need to take a temporary leave, such as violinist Caroline Campbell, who occasionally plays in Andrea Bocelli's shows. Botti keeps a rolodex of other talent who he recruits to fill in the gaps, but one thing he will not sacrifice is the high expectation he has of the musician's caliber.

“I have this kind of ever revolving Rubik's Cube of a band all made up with serious bad asses,” he said.

Thankfully for Houston, Campbell will be a part of the performance.

Despite all the time on the road, Botti still finds time to record. He just finished an album for Blue Note Records titled Volume One that will be available for purchase later this year.

He describes the record as “a tip of the cat that I just turned 60, and we just came out of a pandemic. It’s a ‘fresh start’ sort of situation.”
Houston Symphony presents Chris Botti at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For tickets or information, call 713-224-7575 or visit $54 - $195. A livestream option is available for $20 on Saturday.