Trumpeter Chris Botti describes his music as "instrumental pop with jazz flavoring," which makes for smooth rides.

Trumpeter Chris Botti describes his music as "instrumental pop with jazz flavoring," which makes for smooth rides. Read: no curves, jagged edges or ear-opening surprises. On his latest CD, "When I Fall in Love," Botti takes the exquisite ballad route, a mood-music affair conducive to a mellow evening sipping rosé and cosmopolitans. He's attentive to the lyrical, rarely stretching from the melody line, and romances with a dark cool. But Chet Baker or Miles Davis in their quieter moments? Not quite. The allure lacks consistency. Standards like "My Romance" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" sink below the overly ornate orchestration. Botti does play magic in a chilled swing through "Let's Fall in Love" and caresses "One for My Baby" with a heartfelt melancholy. But the most interesting playing comes when Botti comps with echoes and ornamentation for vocalists Sting and Paula Cole.—DO