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Chris Botti: Slowing Down the World

On the often interesting and imaginative Slowing Down the World (GRP VERCD 57; 49:39) atmospheric trumpeter Chris Botti gets comfortable in a number of thick, moody arrangements.

Unlike some of the new breed players to come along, Botti branches beyond urban nightscapes into some far more intriguing (though sometimes more remote) territory. Botti’s trumpet wafts like a haunting, reoccurring dream through lush tunes like “Irresistible Bliss” and “Letting Go,” but can also be wistfully romantic on the more delicate “Under a Painted Sky.” Where the trumpeter blows funky and rabble rousing on “Why Not,” he sings hesitantly against stark piano on Randy Newman’s “Same Girl,” with a fragile sound evoking the properties of a raw thought. Another atmospheric highlight finds Botti twisting dark accents around Sting’s distinctive vocal on a cover of the classic “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” While a few pieces here focus more on atmosphere than melody, which could alienate some listeners, Botti’s arrangements are always beautifully detailed and intriguing.

Originally Published