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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

Want the COMPLETE version? It takes a little work . . .

I'm a HUGE Botti fan, been to his concerts, own all his CDs, etc. Like any real fan, I own the 2002 release of "December". And, it's a great holiday CD. But there's more to this story...... When I saw the 2006 version of his "December" CD in the stores, I figured that Sony/BMG had simply rereleased it with new artwork. Not exactly..... The 2006 version has two tracks ("Ave Maria" and "I Really Don't Want Much For Christmas") which are not on the earlier release. But, Sony/BMG -- for whatever reason -- pulled two tracks from the 2002 disk when they released the 2006 version ("Perfect Day" and "Hark the Hearld Angels Sing" are the omitted selections). If you already own the earlier version, you can download the two new tracks from iTunes. If you buy this "new" version, search for the ORIGINAL version on iTunes (it's here -- I just checked) and download the two missing tracks. {{Just to confuse things more: there are two versions of the original DECEMBER album on iTunes -- one that's listed as "partial", and one that's the full album. You have use the one that's priced at 12.87 to access both missing tracks}} After you download the two missing tracks (depending on which album you originally buy), make a playlist with 15 tracks, and enjoy the REALLY COMPLETE Chris Botti "December" experience". Yes. you wind up paying about two more bucks for the missing tracks, but I personally think it's worth it. And DON'T blame iTunes for this fiasco . . . the gurus at Sony/BMG are to blame. I have no idea why Sony/BMG's crack team of marketers did this to Chris' album. But, thanks to iTunes, a Botti fan can buy the appropriate tracks and assemble all of Chris' Christmas tunes into one complte holiday playlist. Enjoy! BigGym

Finally! It's a Botti CHRIStmas!

I was so excited to see that Chris Botti had released a Holiday album, and I was not disappointed in the least. His mellow, soulful trumpet brightens up old holiday classics, and brings in newer Christmas songs perfect for the winter season. A must-have for all festive jazz-lovers!

Hallelujah! How a Holiday Album SHOULD Be!

Chris Botti in "December" is a lot like Chris Botti in such albums as "Night Sessions" and "When I Fall In Love" -- perfect. This is a great CD to play as background music in your home for a holiday feel through out the house that is smooth, not forced like most artist's holiday albums that I have heard. You can also stick this CD in your car to take the holiday feeling with you, which is my personal favorite. Wherever you listen to him, don't doubt that his music will alter the course of your day, making the holidays just a little bit brighter through his clear tones and... well, his perfection. It's good to see a person who can make a holiday album the right way. :)


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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Customer Ratings