Robi Botos wins for solo Jazz Album of the Year
He’s a busy man, that Robi Botos.
But not too busy to take the time to thank his fans after the jazz pianist won a Juno Award on April 3.
There’s a humble tone to the 37-year-old’s voice, crackling over the phone, as he shares his reaction to winning for Solo Jazz Album of the Year.
“It was just amazing, in one word,” he said, adding he was confident he had a chance but was also aware of the talent of the other nominees, which included Al Muirhead, Curtis Nowosad, Rich Brown and Tara Davidson.
Still, Botos’ album Movin’ Forward won him his first Juno on his second nomination. He had been given a nod in 2006 for his work on the Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year nomination, One Take: Volume Two.
The father of the three — including four-month-old Anthony — is hoping he can move from sideman to frontman with the win, and pursue some international shows.
“One of the hard parts for any musician these days is to get bookings,” he said. “I’m really hoping to bring music to people internationally.
“It’s a little tricky to move your music into the global scene.”
But the biggest problem Botos faces is being able to support his family, which has led him to be a “workhorse in the musical world.”
Which explains why he has taken up the mantle as teacher at Humber College, training his charges in the craft of jazz and commercial music.
“I’m blessed because I have great students. The Humber team is really cool. If you want to teach somewhere, that’s definitely the place, Humber is the place,” he said. “Most of the people I teach want to be there because they want to learn from me, they’re interested in what I do and are hungry for music.”
Of course, performing with internationally renowned jazz musicians like saxophonist Seamus Blake, bassist Robert Leslie Hurts III and drummer Jeff (Tain) Watts on Movin’ Forward helps.
And Blake will team up with Botos this summer as a special guest, June 30 at the Jazz Bistro.
Working with such talent has proffered the Nyíregyháza, Hungary-born the opportunity to grow in the industry since arriving in Canada in his early 20s. He never forgets the help, and is sure to thank them for leading him on the path to Juno.
“I think back to 17 years ago with no English and my kids,” he said. “In a way, it was a really tough start.
” I’m thankful to the fans and the people who worked hard and helped me stay in Canada.”