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Couric finally settled the matter, reminding the trumpeter that he wasn't playing for Bush, but rather for the office of the president.
A second presidential invitation went down more smoothly, in part because there was a new incumbent — Barack Obama.
But Botti's scheduled 2010 performance in Warsaw quickly took on a deeper meaning.
"You have to learn how to put together a band, how to tour, how to fill time between songs onstage."I moved to New York at exactly the time Wynton Marsalis exploded onto the scene," says Botti, whose sense of awe and envy of the New Orleans phenom remains undiminished after nearly three decades."I knew there was no way I was ever going to be able to compete with him as a straight-ahead jazz player. He began recording with the likes of Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Thomas Dolby. His big break finally came in 1990, when Paul Simon took him on the road."From practicing yoga to engaging in meet-and-greets, I learned it all from Sting." The fact that he kind of looked like Sting — along with his newfound ability to stand on his head and meditate — helped propel Botti's career.Botti had already released his debut album, First Wish, by the time he joined Sting.