"We're not smooth jazz," Botti says, curtly.
Try telling that to the radio programmers who routinely put his cool compositions and covers into rotation, and the listeners who have scooped up more than a million copies of his discs, including his most recent effort, "To Love Again: The Duets."
Botti tries to be understanding. "To about 98 percent of the general public, if you put an instrument on the top and they can sort of figure out 'Well, you're playing in a little tiny club and it sounds like a math test' or 'You're playing bigger venues and it's pleasing,' then the second one is always going to be smooth jazz," he says. "It doesn't matter what's going on underneath."
By Sarah Rodman, BOSTON GLOBE