Botti, who performs with the Tacoma Symphony on March 17, plays with everyone from Steven Tyler to Yo-Yo Ma.
Trumpet player Chris Botti played the Tacoma Dome for the first time 26 years ago, while on tour with Paul Simon. On Friday, March 17, he’ll be playing for the first time with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra at the Dome.
“When you’re on tour so much, it’s such a treat to get to stand in front of an orchestra,” Botti said. The addition will add depth to the touring group, carefully curated by Botti.
“I have an incredible jazz group, but also we have two world-class classical musicians and so … our stuff moves around from so many different genres, there’re guest stars, and an arc to it, but at the core it’s played by great artists. I think that’s why we have such a high tour profile,” Botti said.
8 p.m., Friday, March 17, Tacoma Dome, 2727 East D St., Tacoma; $26.50-$196 (ticketmaster.com).
After 13 years on the road, Botti says Seattle is one of the cities where the excitement for his music is most palpable.
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“I grew up in Oregon, so this area feels like home … and there is an enthusiasm for music here — rain or shine,” he said.
Botti has four No. 1 jazz albums and a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album, and he’s made a point not to let any single genre constrain him by playing with everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to John Mayer.
“ … I straddle both the commercial and jazz arenas. One day I’ll be working with Herbie or Wynton and playing all the major jazz festivals, and then turning around and playing on stage with Steven Tyler, Yo-Yo Ma or Sting,” Botti said. “My job is really to worry about my audience, not necessarily pay much attention to jazz purists.”
Botti wonders if placing limits on jazz is good for musicians.
“Crossing-over for someone like Beyoncé is absolutely fine. But for jazz music, there’s a certain sector of people who know about jazz who just want people to stay in a certain category,” Botti said. “Like somebody like Wynton Marsalis, who’s a purist and I consider him a friend, and we work together, it’s what he believes in at his core and it’s awesome … But at the same time, I don’t fault someone like Snarky Puppy or whatever group that has a backbeat. They can play Coachella. Where does that leave the straight-ahead jazz people?”
Botti is a bit of a free spirit. He owns six suits and a trumpet. For about 260 days of the year, Botti is touring, and “home” is a hotel in New York. He checked in almost three years ago and has never bothered to check out.
“It’s a cool thing for this time in my life when I’m sort of transient anyhow. My suits have somewhere to hang while I’m on the road,” he said.
Botti expects to be back in the studio next year, but for now he’s on the road, booked solid until next February.