American trumpeter Chris Botti has kept his music fresh with small evolutions in his sound. Starting out in middle-of-the-road pop, he began to fit his smooth, often muted trumpet into classic jazz arrangements and to take on a greater variety of vocalists as collaborators. Now, with Italia, he takes a small step into crossover classical territory -- not a full-fledged one, and one partly presaged by his use of full orchestras on earlier releases and by a Mozart disc of a sort. With a dose of movie music, a rather phoned-in (or perhaps emailed in) vocal by Andrea Bocelli, an "Ave Maria" that soars high enough for anybody's wedding day, and a "Nessun dorma" that is nicely under control, he has tried something just slightly new. And he pulls it off. His tone is lovely, and his technique using mutes is impeccable. The arrangements of pop songs like "The Way You Look Tonight" rest easily under Botti's fingers, and for the most part he manages the trick of being relaxed without being cloying. The vocals are the weak point; the album features a necro-duet with Dean Martin on "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," but Bocelli and Paula Cole sound scarcely more present on their vocal contributions -- whether or not they were physically present in the studio, Botti doesn't interact with them much. Aside from these tracks, however, those looking for trumpet music that goes down as easily as a glass of water will find it here.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Once Upon a Time in America, film score|
feat: Andrea Bocelli
feat: Paula Cole
feat: Dean Martin