Jazz Chuck Workman Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti joins the ISO for concerts May 5-7 at Hilbert Circle Theatre. The most widely-listened-to trumpeter in jazz today is Grammy Award-winner Chris Botti. Botti, who still has fond memories of his time as an IU music major, returns to Indy with his band to join the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly for concerts Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 7 at 7 p.m. at Hilbert Circle Theatre. Botti stunned both the jazz and pop worlds when his 2004 CD, When I Fall in Love, went gold in sales. His 2005 release, To Love Again, won a Grammy Award, has over 200,000 sales and is still climbing. Chris Botti is leading dual lives in the public’s eye as a contemporary jazz artist and a pop celeb. Botti has a firm grasp on the reality of both and how one can benefit the other. He talked about this when I caught up with him on tour in Denver for this phone interview. NUVO: Does the pop/celeb side of your career inhibit your image as a jazz artist? Botti: It kind of goes two ways. For instance, when jazz critics come to my show and they see it with Billy Childs, Billy Kilson and Mark Whitfield and we are all kind of stretching out and doing our thing, they go, “Oh my God that is so cool,” for someone selling this amount of CDs and presenting an audience with this view of jazz, which is way more a tip of the cap to Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard than it is smooth jazz. I am in that weird kind of fine line, walking that tightrope of trying to be accepted by doing music that really pushes the boundaries but also reigning it in to a point where it’s accessible to an audience. NUVO: Every generation has had great ballad trumpeters from Bix to Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Miles Davis and now Botti. Do you ever feel your role is that of a pathfinder for offering the diversity of jazz appeal to a new mass audience? Botti: I think I certainly have been fortunate to play and sell a lot of CDs in this climate and have the band that I have of incredible jazz soloists. That is the only thing I am really concerned with right now, being able to walk on stage in Indianapolis with this great band and orchestra and play music that represents my trumpet playing. This is relatively new for me even though we have been at it such a long time. It’s success on a super high level and it’s only been in the last couple of years. I am still in that I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening mode. NUVO:Do you think the public is hungry for comfortable melodies such as the Great American Songbook served up in a new way like you have been doing? Botti: I think that they definitely are. They don’t call it the Great American Songbook for nothing. A lot of people who have careers these days seem to fall by the wayside because the songs are more about the beat rather than the actual melody and those things come and go. Concert tickets for the ISO Pops series sponsored by Northwest Airlines are $28 to $65. Order at 317-639-4300 or 800-366-8457. Online: www.IndianapolisSymphony.org. Chris Botti will be my in-studio guest at 6 p.m. on Saturday Evening Jazz on 88.7 WICR-FM this week. Jazz data • Jazz Works ... Pass It On! will hold a free jam session open to musicians and the public Saturday, May 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Junior Achievement Education Center, 7435 N. Keystone Ave. • The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will perform at the Warren Performing Arts Center, 9500 E. 16th St., Sunday, May 7 at 3 p.m. Tickets: $25; seniors $22; children $10. Call 317-239-5151 or 317-532-6280. • The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra will perform a Big Band “Cinco De Mayo” Concert & Dance Friday, May 5 at 8 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington St. Advance tickets are $20; students $10. For tickets call 317-232-1637 or www.indyjazz.org. • Bluenote Records recording artists The Bill Charlap Trio will play at the Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Wednesday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30; call 317-254-8915. • Convergence will offer a free jazz concert Tuesday, May 9 at 12:15 p.m. at the Artsgarden. • Brix Bistro, 65 S. First St., Zionsville, features Daniel Young Tuesdays and Davis & Devitt Thursdays. Music is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. • Lutz Steakhouse, 3100 Westfield Road, Wednesdays presents Craig Peterson; Thursdays, Dave Lowe, 6 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, Dave Lowe performs 7 to 11 p.m. Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Saturday Evening Jazz Show, 6 to 8 p.m. on 88.7 WICR-FM.