Chris Botti
Chris Botti

The last time Chris Botti came through Lowell in February 2011, we chatted on the phone about his rise from being a backing musician for Paul Simon and Sting to his spot on People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People, performing at a Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and appearances on numerous PBS television specials.

What we didn't talk much about was the music, and the 51-year-old Botti -- who comes to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Friday night for a show that promises to be a great kickoff to a long holiday weekend as well as the unofficial start of summer -- has done quite well for himself as a trumpeter.

Four of his albums have topped the Billboard jazz albums chart, his 2012 album Impressions won the Grammy Award in 2013 for best pop instrumental album and he has been nominated for his 2007 album Italia and his 2009 live album Chris Botti in Boston.

The Lowell show is part of Botti's lengthy tour in support of Impressions, although Botti recently released a stand-alone single called "For All We Know" on iTunes.

"We're on the road 300 days a year and people say 'How do you have a life?' " Botti said. "I don't, but I wouldn't change anything. It's just really amazing and I am very, very fortunate to be able to travel around the world and play music on this level with my amazing band."


If you went to the 2011 show at the Lowell Auditorium, you likely remember Botti's featured singer Lisa Fischer. The R&B singer and songwriter has performed with Luther Vandross, Tina Turner and the Rolling Stones. In fact, it's her work with The Stones that is keeping Fischer, who was recently profiled in the stellar Twenty Feet from Stardom documentary, from working with Botti this time around.

"Lisa is absolutely amazing and I'm so very proud that I've had the opportunity to work with her and become friends. She's toured with The Rolling Stones since '89 so she hasn't been with us since The Stones started touring again. I've seen the film and really enjoyed it. In fact, I was actually interviewed for it and make a small appearance," Botti said, adding that he's touring with Sy Smith, who has toured extensively with Botti and was part of the Chris Botti in Boston special.

Botti told me he'll be playing everything from his catalog on this tour.

"My band sort of moves in and around classical music and jazz. We will be playing a little bit of everything, from Impressions back to When I Fall in Love. We've added a male vocalist, George Komsky, to the band in addition to Sy and he adds a great new element to the show. And, yes, we may even throw in a new cover."

If you've never seen Botti before, expect a fun-filled evening.

"I honestly have had so many people, like my friends, come to me and go 'Chris, I'm coming to your show tomorrow. I have never seen you play before, so is it just you and the trumpet?' "

"You know, they don't realize it's a night of entertainment with an incredible jazz group that moves around from pop to classical to jazz. You have all these lines being blurred and it's incredibly fun."

If you are a die-hard Botti fan and have never seen him in concert, consider that in 2011, he hung around well after the show in the Lowell Memorial Auditorium lobby signing autographs for fans.

"I try and do meet-and-greets after every show when my schedule permits," Botti said. "It's incredibly important to me that we relate to the fans, that we're open to them and that we accept them and are appreciative that they're there. It's not lost on me at all that we have fans that buy tickets, take a night off and come to the show. It means so much."

Chris Botti comes to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Friday, May 23, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $77, $62, $52 and $37 and can be purchased at