Picture a smooth-jazz pop icon like Kenny G playing trumpet like Miles Davis circa his “Kind of Blue” phase while looking like a heartthrob and you get Chris Botti. Not that the 47-year-old American is anything like either musician, with his penchant for pop songs marking him as the rare trumpeter who travels well in many circles.
Take his most recent offering, “Chris Botti In Boston,” recorded live over two days at Boston’s Symphony Hall in September 2008 and released March 2009 on CD and video. Sharing the stage with the Boston Pops Orchestra and guests such as Sting, Yo-Yo Ma, Josh Groban and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Botti and his band played pop, jazz and classical pieces.
Next month, Botti takes his band — consisting of pianist Billy Childs, drummer Billy Kilson, guitarist Mark Whitfield, bass guitarist Tim Lefebvre and keyboardist Andy Ezrin — to Japan for three performances. Botti will also be joined by special guests singer Sy Smith and violinist Chee-Yun.
“My set will be a broad-ranging cross section of my last four or five albums,” Botti says, which could mean everything he has done since his breakthrough 2004 solo album “When I Fall In Love.” That year was also when he was voted by People magazine as one of its 50 Most Beautiful People, not that it matters to his music.
What drives Botti these days is “maintaining the sound of my trumpet, but also, ‘Do I have a growing audience?’ and ‘Are my fans at my concerts enjoying themselves?’ and as long as these things are taking place, I am more than happy,” he says.
Chris Botti plays Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space on April 3 at 2 p.m.; Aichi Prefectural Art Theater in Nagoya on April 4 at 1:30 p.m.; and Sankei Hall Breeze in Osaka on April 6 at 7 p.m. Seats in the S Section are ¥5,500 while A Section seating is ¥4,500. For more information, visit www.samonpromotion.com/global/ or call 0120-499-699 for tickets.