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Live on Excursions: Chris Botti

2007 Fabrizio Ferri

Some might say trumpeter Chris Botti has a natural talent for performing and composing contemporary jazz music. According to Botti, however, he wasn’t born with it.

“Talent is really 99% drive and focus, and 1% luck,” said Botti in this Excursions interview.

Botti’s drive and focus have earned him an impressive résumé, including touring spots with Paul Simon and Sting. Since 1995, the year he released his first solo album, Botti has steadily developed into the highest selling American instrumental jazz artist. He has released four Billboard #1 jazz albums, including 2004’s critically acclaimed When I Fall in Love.

Botti called in to Excursions in 2009 for a lively chat with Niki Dakota. Here, the two discuss Botti’s approaching concert at the Kuss Auditorium in Springfield, his relationship with Sting, and how video games have made children less likely to pick up musical instruments.

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Born a Hoosier, but only living there in spurts, Niki Dakota spent much of her young life moving around the United States with her archeologist mother. Throughout these years, there was always a ukulele somewhere close at hand. By the time the family settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ms. Dakota found herself in pursuit of professional music-making as she headed-up the Alterna-Folk band, Plow On Boy. In the course of her first live radio interview to promote the band, Niki’s keen excitedness manifest itself in extreme chattiness. At the conclusion of the segment, the DJ closed the mic and said, “You need to be in radio."  That was in 1990.