Igor Butman, saxophone virtuoso, bandleader, club owner and television host, is Russia's number one jazz personality. Born in 1961 in Leningrad (now St.Petersburg), Igor Butman started playing the clarinet at the age of 11. In 1976 he entered the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music, where during his second year he dropped the classical clarinet for the jazz saxophone. Besides being taught by the remarkable musician and brilliant teacher Gennady Goldstein, he took unofficial lessons from nightly broadcasts of jazz from 11:15 p.m. to midnight on Voice of America.
In 1983, Igor Butman played in Oleg Lundstrem`s big band - the best one in the USSR. Next year he was invited by Nick Levinovsky to join the most well known jazz group "Allegro" and played with them for three years. In the Soviet Union, a country of over 300 million people, Igor was known as the best tenor saxophonist, placing first in the Soviet Critics' Polls and recording many albums for Melodiya.
Igor Butman is an artistic director at Le Club, Moscow's top jazz venue, where he appears with his big band every Monday, and has presented such musicians as Ray Brown, Chick Corea, George Benson, Kenny Garret, Randy Brecker, Gary Burton, Al Di Miola, Monty Alexander, Take 6 and many others.
Butman combines mastery of his chosen instrument with joy and freedom, yet clearly and unquestionably conveys his experiences through his music. Ken Franckling in Jazztimes called Igor "A post bop performer with great stage presence, horn control and emotion… there is a deep resonance to his up tempo playing and a mature softness to his balladry".
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