Chris Botti rose to fame as a crackerjack session and touring trumpeter for the likes of Sting, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, and Natalie Merchant. A trained jazz musician, Botti's solo albums evoke a cool-jazz persona similar to Chet Baker, while his use of superstar guest-vocalists ensures Botti a place in the pop charts. Botti released TO LOVE AGAIN in 2005, a sequel to his popular 2004 duets album WHEN I FALL IN LOVE.
This is not the typical example of an artist from another genre jumping on the crowded standards-and-ballads bandwagon. When I Fall in Love instead represents an instrumental stylist busting out of a box to find a much more suitable platform for his craft. These tracks are the fruits of an obvious labor of love for everyone from the featured musicians to the arrangers to the engineers. The arrangers, particularly Billy Childs and Gil Goldstein, give Botti's trumpet a broad-brushed orchestral backdrop that allows him to emerge from the swirling strings and bouncy horns with bold strokes of creative improvising. Some tracks are obvious nods to Gil Evans and the lush arrangements of 1970s CTI recordings. Even the guest vocalists, Sting and Paula Cole, let his trumpet sing first before their respective cues on "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" and "What'll I Do." The only blemish here is the obvious attempt at smooth jazz airplay with Sade's "No Ordinary Love." --Mark Ruffin
If You Enjoy "When I Fall In Love (CD)", May We Also Recommend: