Cozy up to the fire with trumpeter Chris Botti in December. Putting a creative spin on your favorite tunes, Botti is backed up by a tight band that grooves. A host of key jazz players keep things moving in the holiday spirit. Just a few of those featured are: Billy Childs (piano); Peter Erskine (drums & percussion); Jimmy Haslip (bass); Bob Sheppard (sax); CJ Vanston (organ, piano & synthesizer) and Anthony Wilson (guitar). Sitting in are also a couple of the Botti Band regulars: Shane Fontayne (guitar) and Jon Ossman (bass).
Kicking off this collection of seasonal splendor is "The Christmas Song." Backed by violins and flute, Botti and Childs create a reflective mood. The spirit of the moment flows into a quietly restrained "First Noel." Botti’s delicate phrasings match well within the melodic framework of the song. It may be cold outside, but jazz is hot in "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow." Childs (piano) with Erskine (drums) pair off the rhythms in concert with the trumpet. Most breathtaking is Fontayne’s arrangement of "Hallelujah." Botti harnesses the moment with gorgeous intonation, while Fontayne paints a tranquil canvas on guitar.
Warmly intimate, Botti’s vocals on "Perfect Day" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" set a sultry mood. The pace runs to hip in "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Winter Wonderland" and "Little Drummer Boy." Botti makes the melodies his own in "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "Silent Night." Bringing the album to a close, Botti adds a pop vibe with a driving beat and electric guitar work in "I’ll Be Home for Christmas."
December was produced by trendsetter Bobby Columby with Richard Marc co-producing "Perfect Day" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Originally recorded in 2002, December is being re-released just in time for the holidays with his latest album, A Thousand Kisses Deep. Botti will be touring with Dave Koz and Friends through the end of December 2003. A new solo tour is eagerly anticipated in 2004.