Chris Botti – December
(Columbia – 2006)
by Paula Edelstein
Chris Botti’s sound is nothing short of amazing. His pure and warm tone produces a delectably soothing feeling. Yes, I know that this cd is basically just a remake of his last Christmas album but they have added two fantastic pieces of music to this album. They are Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and “I Really Don’t Want Much for Christmas (featuring Eric Benét)”.
First, “Ave Maria” is performed with a wonderful arrangement. You know how during Christmas you go into cathedrals or traditional churches and you hear the choir singing beautiful hymns, which are so touching and heartfelt? Well, this is what this arrangement is like. Chris Botti is backed up by a wonderful choir (St. Jon’s Choir) and the London Session Orchestra. Truly, the feeling is transcendent as the choir sings warmly in the background and the trumpet voice just soars in the graceful melodic lines (by soar, I mean a beautiful melody coming out, not blasting high notes). This performance is simply gorgeous.
“I Really Don’t Want Much for Christmas” is another beautiful tune. The vocals are a nice addition and Chris just seems to be able to play so well with another musician. This is a very gentle song and draws out the feelings in my heart. I believe that this song will truly touch the hearts of listeners because the song is expressing our desire to be with our loved ones. This song allows us to slow down in the midst of our busy year and really reflect and realize that we should cherish being with our loved ones.
All the other tracks are amazing and Chris Botti produces a splendid and lush atmosphere with his moving playing. There is variety in the style as there are faster, lighthearted arrangements alongside slow, lush arrangements. Personally, I am a classical lover and I love the glory that brass instruments attain during Christmas with playing in the brilliant high register. Amazingly, Chris Botti still moves me without having to play such brilliant, high notes. His beautiful tone is already more than enough.