It’s his 17th year of doing this, and he will play more than 50 shows as part of this residency before his New Year’s Celebration there on December 31.
This time, he’s throwing a spotlight on a young singer, Veronica Swift, who proudly calls Botti her mentor.
It’s a story about how this uniquely American genre of music gets passed down from one generation to another by keepers of jazz’s flame. It depends on the willingness of an established star like Botti to share the spotlight with a unique young talent like Swift.
Listen to them, and you will hear a musical conversation that bridges a generation gap — and their interplay helps to keep jazz alive.
“I firmly believe it’s my responsibility as a young artist to not only receive what the mentors, my mentors, are teaching me, but to also pass it to people in my generation,” she said. “To be a leader in that way.”
She’s earned the right to be called a prodigy after making her first record at the age of 9 and first performing publicly at 11.
“I grew up in a family of jazz musicians,” she said. “I was exposed to and met a lot of the great legends as well, growing up.”
In fact, Swift listened to music made by Botti — the same guy she sings with now at The Blue Note.
“It feels like it’s real, old school stardom person in a young person’s body,” Botti said. “And it’s so great to watch and hear.”
Swift’s singular tone first drew his attention, but what made Botti a true believer was her work ethic.
“It’s a parallel thing,” he said. “You got talent, and then you have to have that work ethic.”
A month’s worth of shows in New York City is just one stop on a lengthy world tour for these two.
“The good thing is there are young people out there that are checking out the music,” Botti said. “And it’s just so refreshing to see that, and we hope it just keeps going.”
Botti and his band are at The Blue Note through January 2. Tickets to some shows are available at BlueNoteJazz.com/chris-botti.
I might see you there, because as a jazz fan, I know I won’t be able to resist the chance to see and hear these world-class artists in such a cozy and intimate setting.