Born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Corvallis, Oregon, he spent two years of his childhood growing up in Italy. His earliest musical influence was his mother, a classically trained pianist and part-time piano teacher.
He plays a Martin Committee Handcraft trumpet made in 1940, and uses a 3 silver plated mouthpiece from Bach made in 1926, having recently retired his 1920 3C Bach mouthpiece. He counts Miles Davis among his most significant influences.
Botti attended Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon where he studied under Larry McVey whose renowned jazz program had come to be a regular stop for Stan Kenton and Mel Tormé when they were looking for new players. It was here he played alongside his friend, trombonist and future Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Todd Field.