Trumpeter Chris Botti follows up his 2007 classical-themed album Italia and his smash 2009 concert album Live in Boston with 2012's Impressions. In many ways, Impressions combines the best of those two earlier albums by featuring more of the classical crossover and Latin-inflected style of Italia with a few pop reinterpretations and a handful of guest vocalists as in much of his previous work. Produced by famed fusion drummer and longtime Botti associate Bobby Colomby, Impressions is a languid and expertly crafted album in which Botti's burnished, lyrical trumpet tone is often framed against lush orchestrations via arrangers including Vince Mendoza, Gil Goldstein, and others. To these ends, we get a gorgeous take on Frédéric Chopin's Prelude No. 20 in C Minor, a duet with opera star Andrea Bocelli on the David Foster/Botti composition "Per Te [For You]," and a moving, Miles Davis-inspired duo version of R. Kelly's "You Are Not Alone" featuring guitarist Leonardo Amuedo. Also intriguing are such cuts as Botti's brooding and sultry collaboration with jazz piano legend Herbie Hancock on "Tango Suite," his yearning, cinematic take on Astor Piazzolla's "Oblivion" with violinist Caroline Campbell, and his stark duet on the Gershwin standard "Summertime" with pianist Foster. Elsewhere, we get a Broadway-inspired rendition of Randy Newman's "Losing You" featuring country singer Vince Gill, a re-pairing with guitarist Amuedo on the classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and an inspired interpretation of the Louis Armstrong number "What a Wonderful World" featuring guitarist/singer Mark Knopfler. As with most of Botti's oeuvre, Impressions is a lyrical, romantic, and impeccably produced album that makes the most of the trumpeter's generous skills.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar