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Chris Botti: To Love Again: The Duets

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On To Love Again, as with the 500,000-plus selling When I Fall in Love, trumpter Chris Botti’s producer is Bobby Colomby. Where the first CD offered two vocalists, Sting and Paul Cole, the latest boasts nine, including Sting and Cole for round two. Botti’s selections tend toward melancholia, reinforced by his plaintive trumpet and the London Session Orchestra. The two youngest vocalists, Renee Olstead and Michael Buble, interpret the sunniest tunes, “Pennies From Heaven” and “Let There Be Love,” respectively. The veterans Sting (“What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?”), Cole (“My One and Only Love”), Jill Scott (“Good Morning Heartache”), Paul Buchanan (“Are You Lonesome Tonight?”) and Gladys Knight (“Lover Man”) all turn in enjoyable performances. And Steven Tyler of Aerosmith warbles in an endearingly broken voice on “Smile.” Botti also called on Brazilian vocalist Rosa Passos for “Here’s That Rainy Day,” which is certainly a gorgeous tune, though her English accent is a bit distracting.

Botti balances the songs’ tempos and moods with great care. His understated solos on the instrumentals–“Embraceable You,” “What’s New?” “To Love Again” and “I’ll Be Seeing You”–show that he has matured over the course of 10 years and eight CDs. To Love Again is a wonderfully moody work showing that the Great American Songbook is always open to new interpretations.