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December

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Album Review

The story about there being more suicides around the holidays turns out to be a myth, but like all urban legends, it caught on among the populace (or at least among lazy journalists) because it sounds like it should be true; as trumpeter Chris Botti writes in a sleeve note to his seasonal collection, December, "At no other time of the year is there a wider array of emotions than the month of December." This is a clue that Botti, in acceding to his record company's request that he undertake a Christmas album, was not interested in simply celebrating the season in his interpretations of holiday standards. There have been other such contemplative Christmas records: George Winston's album, also called December, is calm rather than celebratory, and Barbra Streisand's Christmas Memories, released in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, is another collection that takes in the season's complexities. Add Botti's album to that list. The approach, of course, fits in with the trumpeter's overall musical style. Often heard through a mute, his playing usually has an intimate, low-key character, and that is true here, too. Critics have compared him to Miles Davis, and to that one easily may add Chet Baker, especially because like Baker, Botti has chosen to sing here, applying an adequate tenor to Richard Marx's "Perfect Day" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (the latter one of the more troubled of lyrics to become a Christmas standard). It isn't all doom and gloom, of course; there's a playful reading of "Winter Wonderland," for instance. But this is still an album to be put on in the shank of the evening when the Christmas festivities have subsided, not at the height of the celebrations.

Customer Reviews

Jazzy Christmas

Just what I was looking for; a good mix of slower songs for some christmas spirit contemplation as well as light hearted upbeat jazz to wake the spirit. Well done!

December Album

I don't know what else to say other than I love this album...great for entertaining, and for those cold winter days curled up on the couch,with a cup of hot coco and a great book, or soaking in a nice hot bath after a crazy christmas shopping day! A great album to share with friends and family!

Biography

Born: October 12, 1962 in Portland, OR

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Though best known as a contemporary jazz performer, trumpeter Chris Botti made his initial splash on the pop music scene. A native of Oregon, he started playing at the age of ten, and began performing professionally while still in high school. After studying in the prestigious Indiana University music program under noted jazz educator David Baker, Botti relocated to New York, where he served with saxophonist George Coleman and trumpet great Woody Shaw. In 1990, Botti was asked to join Paul Simon's...
Full bio
December, Chris Botti
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