Race-scene celebrities, the town's glitterati, senior officials and other movers and shakers will be mingling at a gala party while a top musician improvises GRAMMY AWARD-winning trumpeter and improviser Chris Botti will be the highlight of a gala party to celebrate the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races, a red-letter day on the local and international racing calendar. The party is one of the highlights in a series of activities leading up to the big day next Sunday. It will be held next Friday at Murray House, the restored Victorian-era former military barracks in Stanley. The programme includes a cocktail reception, dinner and entertainment. Top-ranking government officials, prominent business figures, horse owners, jockeys, trainers, celebrities and representatives of local and overseas media groups will attend the gala. Celebrated American jazz musician Botti was recently in Hong Kong to take part in the popular Jazz Up concert series. A native of Oregon, Portland, Botti grew up in a house filled with serious music. His mother was a classically trained pianist. He started playing trumpet at the age of 10, and began performing professionally while still in high school. After studying under noted jazz educator David Baker at Indiana University, he moved to New York, where he discovered his true musical identity. 'I realised I didn't want to be a jazz musician. I love improvising but you really need to live the bebop tradition to play it,' Botti says on his website. 'That kind of music - the kind that Woody Shaw played so brilliantly - just moves a little too quickly for me. 'The music that really inspired me as a teenager was more like Miles Davis playing ballads with the second Quintet. 'My music is more reined-in because it's in a pop format. But this atmospheric quality is what I really loved about jazz.' Botti has worked with a host of famous singer-songwriters, including Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Natalie Merchant. He was a member of Paul Simon's band for five years. In 2000, he joined pop legend Sting for two years of road work. Botti released his debut album Night Sessions in 2001. The songs were written and recorded during a 2?-month break between tours with Sting and were inspired by the music of the late-night European club scene. Botti's big break came when Oprah Winfrey championed his artistry to the television viewing public. Within a week of his performance on her chat show he sold 50,000 copies of his album, A Thousand Kisses Deep. In his latest album, To Love Again, he is joined by nine of today's finest vocalists. The album has been praised for its artistry and sublime arrangements.