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4.6 out of 5 stars
When I Fall In Love
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137 of 144 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The best way to describe what I hear when I listen to Chris Botti is a slow burn. The whole cd simmers with soft but intense sensuality. This is my favorite kind of music: exceptional melodies, respected and true to their origin but uniquely interpreted by extraordinary combinations of understated but undeniable arrangements. The traditional orchestral sounds are sophisticated and fresh creating a tapestry of genuine, gentle jazz sounds (try "My Romance" to understand what I mean). These standards he chose to include are truly some of my most favorite melodies of all time and he gives each song so much controlled passion it's delectable. The combinations of bass and trumpet for "What'll I Do?" could not be more perfect. "Let's Fall in Love," is swinging and true to Big Band reverence but Chris's interpretation is strikingly original. Sting's "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" is the single to release with it's lush, latin mood. The unaffected vocals of Paula Cole are a well chosen compliment to Botti's exceptional talent as is the keyboard genius of pianist Billy Childs.

Listen for Chris's spectacular jazz trumpet in guest appearances on other cd's (for example on Renee Olstead's new cd) as well.

If you thought "Thousand Kisses Deep" was one of the best cd's last year (I did too) wait until you hear this one! Chris was just getting warmed up. This is the cd that maximizes all of his talent. The entire production is fabulous. One of my favorite top 5 releases of '04.
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86 of 101 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
This isn't the most fantastic jazz-trumpet-standards CD I've ever heard - that distinction belongs to something like Clifford Brown With Strings - but it's still a real solid effort from Chris Botti. His tones on these songs are as clear and pure as a mountain spring, and the song selection is well designed for those who want to get "in the mood for love." I like the fact that there's a mix of traditional standards and more modern romantic songs. Thus Sting's "No Ordinary Love" appears right after "What'll I Do?" and so on. I think Botti has been unfairly labeled as a "Smooth Jazz" artist (a now ultra-bland subgenre that no self-respecting musician wants to be a part of - although they'll gladly take the sales...). Certainly on this album his backing is more likely to satisfy classic jazz fans - no funky rhythm section and synthesized dance beats, just an orchestra, big band or acoustic ensemble. And his straight-out horn blowing on songs such "Let's Fall In Love" (cool jazz riffs) should earn him a measure of respect.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I have enjoyed Chris' other recordings -- "Slowing Down THe World" is my personal favorite -- and his other work with other artists. With this cd I can't help but get the feeling that Botti wanted to exercise his "musical muscle". He can simply flat out play. He's got the chops.

I hope people will sit down and listen to it and not dismiss it as the usual "smooth jazz" shlock that has clogged the airwaves these days. WHEN I FALL IN LOVE is soo much more than that!

THere are no slick and cool beats accompanying CHris. (except for his verson of ORDINARY LOVE -- which is ok) THis is beautiful, and lush and as "straight ahead" jazz as you're going to hear these days. Smooth jazz stations may not know what to do with this cd.

All of these jazz standards get Chris full and beautiful tone ... his expression is flawless. The best tune on the cd is ONE FOR MY BABY. I can feel the vibe of the smokey bar, and the dirty bar glasses, and the familiar ring of "last call!" After hearing that one I was speechless. You just don't hear beauty like that anymore. CHris' version of TIME TO SAY GOODBYE reminds you that angels can play the trumpet.

If you're looking for a lush and romantic collection of jazz standards be sure to include this in your collection. Chris Botti will break your heart and then mend it with this cd.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Ah, that perennial conundrum. Is it a smooth jazz performance or is it just instrumental pop? For years I've railed against artistes like Kenny G, George Howard, Najee and even Norman Brown (for a minute); artistes who not only think it's clever to play their instruments along the vocal melodies of pop songs and claim they're playing jazz but actually go on to have massive commercial success at it. They play just enough improvisation to substantiate their claims but not too much, so as not to scare the horses. Not that I've got anything against jazz artistes doing pop tunes. Even the heavyweight Pat Metheny did a cover on his last solo album, "One Quiet Night" but it was a Norah Jones song and it was almost a one-off. He certainly doesn't do entire albums of covers. I just think it's lazy and boring.

"As seen on: Oprah [and] The Today Show", proudly stated the sticker that came on this CD and indeed, although I had been aware for some time of his seemingly endless residence on the Billboard charts, it was on Ms Winfrey's show that I first heard Chris Botti. Oprah's no fool, I thought, and while nothing I heard on the show made me believe that this was anything other than what I thought it was, his appearance on the show was enough to make me want to find out more. I wanted to be sure before I dismissed him outright.

But the expected ennui did not come. Right from the first tune, I was taken in by the lush orchestration, which reminded me of great classic music and movies from the 40s and 50s. His trumpet playing is straightforward enough but it has a quality of tone to it that was mesmerising. I immediately imagined myself kicking back on a high-rise balcony looking out on the city, late at night or on a sea front patio gazing out to sea. I told my friend: "The music just lifts you up and you feel like you want to grow wings and go kiss the stars." All in all, it's pretty amazing stuff.

And while some of the songs, like "No Ordinary Love", do appear rather tidy, rather predictable, there are others, like "Let's Fall In Love", "Make Someone Happy" and "Cinema Paradiso" (which has a wonderful piano solo by Billy Childs), that are more daring and where he really kicks in some oomph and gets real jazzy. I think there's something here for everyone. Paula Cole sounds angelic lovely on "What'll I Do?" and "How Love Should Be" and Sting adds additional credibility and swing on "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets". "Nearness of You" is one of the most moving ballads I've heard in a while and "One For My Baby" just made me want to cry. Maybe because that song always reminds me of Frank Sinatra.

But is it jazz? Well, it's not quite as adventurous as Miles Davis or as complicated as Kenny Wheeler but on the whole, I think it is, and good jazz at that. It's incredibly accessible; hence it's chart success, but maybe jazz needs to be. Sometimes.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Prior to Oprah's endorsement of Chris Botti, and his appearances on The Caroline Rhea Show I have followed Chris Botti since I first encountered a performance of his on Sting's tour a few years ago. Since then I have been an avid listener of his work and I have had the pleasure of meeting him a few times when he was on The Caroline Rhea Show. I think out of all his cds, and I have all of them including a lot of his guest appearances on other people's cds, that this cd is rivaling "Slowing Down the World" as a favorite of mine. Those who know Chris' music are aware that he likes to take contemporary jazz to a new level and on this album he works with some standards as well as popular songs like Sade's "No Ordinary Love" and gives them his own interpretation. A lot of people will say things like, oh if you are into the originals, just buy the original tracks. It's my opinion that the standards chris has chosen such as "The Nearness of You", "When I fall in Love" are revived in such a way that it's not an impersonation of a classic, but a contemporary interpretation. Chris also works with the legendary Burt Bacharach on this album and you can really hear the influence coming through. I like to compare Chris to a musician like Jimi Hendrix, he's someone who successful expresses emotions through the instrument he plays. He laughs with it, he cries with it, and basically just touches something in your soul that you can't put your finger on. That's why I gave "When I fall in Love" a 5 star rating. If you are just introducing yourself to Chris' work I thinkt his is a good album to start with. If you aare a long time fan of his work, like I am, I think this album sets itself apart from his other work and is a great compilation. Congrats to Chris for all your success :)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Chris Botti has been one of the most sought after jazz musicians over the last decade. His CD's have been very diverse within the Contemporary Jazz spectrum, often rolling between Acid Jazz and R&B. But in his latest CD, Botti goes back to jazz standards from the 1950's & 60's. Botti does give a nice rendition of Sade's "No Ordinary Love". Other highlights were "When I Fall In Love" & "Someone To Watch Over Me". It's quite refreshing to hear music done with such a melodramatic touch. If you're looking for music in the line of "Indian Summer" or "Regrooveable", look elsewhere. But, if you want music you can relax to or have a nice dinner with, this CD is for you! Recommended!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2007
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
It's a great album. I heard from many people that it's good background music but I don't agree. It's far more than that. It's just amazing to listen to. Chris has an impressive control over the trumpet and makes its sound absolutely incredible, smooth and soft.

I heard Chris on a jazz fest and I enjoyed his performance a lot. Now I'm waiting for an album that would be less polished and maybe less romantic but more jazzy and would show all what Chris can do... Still this CD is beautiful and I recommend it to everyone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This CD is identified as Jazz and I guess one could call it smooth jazz, which I do not like, being more a bop-cool edgy type jazz fan. But forget that it is labeled jazz, it is dreamy haunting music that captivated me. It provoked buying of other Botti CD's and although they are good, this is the best.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Soothing and romantic. A perfect addition to any party or romantic dinner for two.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Standards? Trust me dear reader I have standards in my music library by the hundreds ( my music collection seems to have taken on a life of its very own! ) and by every artist imaginable. Raised by the likes of Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ella and a host of other vocalists who knew their way around a song. Classics done by artists who have forgotten more about music then I shall ever truly know. So what could Chris Botti, young smooth-jazz trumpeter/upstart, have to teach me about these songs and how I may relate to them. I'll state that I must own somewhere close to two dozen versions of " When I Fall In Love " the opening track but few compare with the tender rendition that Chris awards his listeners with. At once light as a feather nevertheless it still maintains a sheer beauty by this artists extremely light touch and his instinctive nature in knowing when to add or subtract from the songs heart-felt emotions. A classic in its very own right!

I'll spare readers of this critique any silly comparisons between Mr. Botti and Chet Baker though the similarities are remarkable. Mr. Bottis approach to each of these classics are at first glance one of respect and admiration for the artists that covered them before he became a popular musician. That in itself is cause for rejoice simply due to hearing other artists cover these tunes with little regard for the songs emotional honesty. Standards such as these can be performed in a variety of ways but an artist cannot afford to lose the sheer beauty of the melody for fear of losing the very soul of a song. That is almost criminal! Mr. Bottis approach is to take each selection, and with light orchestration ( shades of Johnny Mandel! ) add varying degrees of texture so that each song has its very own unique place in the disc and is memorable for what it adds as a whole to " When I Fall In Love " Then again, almost all selections here follow the same wonderful path, which is to take each song, address in an extremely quiet and almost nostalgic manner and let the songs wonderful melodies speak for themselves. Creating some wonderful mod pieces that are difficult enough to find these days in any genre of music. I suspect that what is noteworthy ( sorry, painfully bad pun! ) is that Mr. Botti approaches these classics not from the staure of showing how many notes he can cram into each songs heartfelt melodies ( I've been subjected to that particular brand of torture before! ) but from adding notes ( or in some cases subtracting! ) simply to convey an emotional intensity that these songs really need and richly deserve. I could go on of course regarding other highlights from this gorgeous disc but I'll let any curious music lover find for her/himself exactly what I've discovered after purchasing " When I Fall In Love " Sometimes words fall woefully short of expressing the beauty of music. A perfect disc to enjoy with a glass of wine and a broken heart.
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