I originally reviewed Chris Botti's Italia album in November 2007. This project is available in two formats - a single CD and a CD/DVD digipak. This review is for the digipak edition.
The deluxe edition features a DVD with four bonus audio tracks. The short DVD (it's about twenty minutes) features some behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the album, the highlights being Bocelli in the studio with Botti recording "Italia" and Botti talking about his inspiration for making the album. What makes this edition really worthwhile, though, are the four bonus tracks - "Emmanuel," "Flamenco Sketches," "If I Loved You," and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." "If I Loved You" is another superb duet with Paula Cole, her vocal perfect for the song's romantic, wistful tone (incidentally in the DVD portion Botti states that Cole records all of her vocals for his projects in one take). "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" is what I like to think of as a Casablanca song - the arrangement and delivery evoke all the romance of that film and others like it - it's classy and timeless. Italia is another wonderfully addictive offering from Chris Botti's seemingly endless reservoir of creativity and talent. I had the thrill of seeing him perform live earlier this year - if you ever get the chance, GO. When you see him perform live and cut loose with his band, and then contrast that with the beautifully orchestrated, soaring trumpet playing he exhibits on an album like Italia, one's respect for the scope of his talent increases tenfold.