Arts and Entertainment

Tunes to make you swoon

Chris Botti’s popularity has soared since appearing on Oprah, and he’s coming to the Admiral April 21.  - Courtesy photo
Chris Botti’s popularity has soared since appearing on Oprah, and he’s coming to the Admiral April 21.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Actors, authors or musicians can toil away at their crafts for years, but all it takes is one appearance on “Oprah” to become an overnight success.

Such was the case for trumpet player Chris Botti, who appeared on “Oprah” in November 2004 to play a selection from his album, “When I Fall in Love.”

Oprah gushed and people rushed to buy the album — just in time for Christmas.

The album jumped 109 spots on the Traditional Jazz Album Sales chart, rocketing from No. 146 to No. 37 in the week after the show aired. It was the biggest single week’s sales leap of any traditional jazz album by an instrumental artist. It has since spent 17 weeks in the No.1 spot.

The Admiral Theatre was lucky enough to still be able to book Botti for a performance at the Bremerton venue after his “meteoric” rise to fame, although his price did go up. That show is set for Friday, April 21, and tickets are going fast.

The theater bookers managed to snag him while he was in the area — he’s practicing with the Portland Symphony Friday morning, then performing with the symphony Saturday night. His Bremerton performance is sandwiched between the two.

So what’s all the fuss about? For one thing, Botti is very easy on the eyes. With tousled frosted hair, piercing blue eyes and a strong cleft chin, he looks more than a little like Jude Law. Film critic Rex Reed called him “the sexiest trumpeter since Chet Baker.”

And the boy can play. From his humble beginnings in Corvallis, Ore., Botti went on tour with Paul Simon in 1990 and Sting in 2000. He also has appeared on dozens of albums as a sideman, and worked with performers such as Natalie Merchant and Joni Mitchell.

Botti moved to New York in 1986 and studied trumpet with jazz great Woody Shaw, but realized he didn’t want to be strictly a jazz musician.

“I love improvising, but you really need to live the bebop tradition in order to play it,” he said in a previous interview. “My music is more reined in, because it’s in a pop format. But this atmospheric quality is what I really loved about jazz, and I’ve tried to marry that feel to the textures and melodies you might hear on a record by Peter Gabriel or Bryan Ferry.”

The result is a lush melodic sound that falls somewhere between Ferry’s “Avalon” and Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good.” It’s the kind of music you would find on a playlist with tenor Andrea Botticelli and pianist Diana Krall.

The titles that Botti chooses for his CDs, seven of them now, reflect this mellow, romantic mood. His solo debut in 1995 was “First Wish,” followed by “Midnight Without You” in 1997 and “Slowing Down the World” in 1999.

“Night Sessions” in 2001 marked his Columbia label debut, and was inspired by the impressions he picked up from the late-night club scene in Europe. With “A Thousand Kisses Deep” Botti began to turn to classics such as “My Funny Valentine,” and his “breakthrough” album, “When I Fall in Love,” features tunes such as “My Romance,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Make Someone Happy.”

This is pretty mushy stuff, or as one Amazon.com reviewer tagged it, “Lush and romantic (i.e., make-out music).”

It’s not Valentine’s Day, but this concert is as romantic as a night out gets.

Chris Botti performs 8 p.m. Friday, April 21 at the Admiral Theatre, 515 Pacific Ave., Bremerton.

Tickets are $45 main floor and loge, $35 balcony, all seats reserved. Dinner show tickets are $76. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., reservations required. Tickets available at

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