FROM RUSSIA WITH MUSIC
Igor Butman Jazz Orchestra in New Delhi
Igor Butman, living legend of Russian jazz, hailed by former US president Bill Clinton as his "favourite living jazz saxophonist", performed this October - November, at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai and gave a two and a half hour long virtuoso concert at the Zorba Amphitheatre, New Delhi.
Although Igor Butman had previously played in India, this time it was his first performance in the country with the 18-member Igor Butman Big Band. Supported and promoted by the Association Jazz Addicts, a community of jazz enthusiasts founded by Pradip Bhatia, Sunil Sampat and Apurva Agarwal in collaboration with NCPA and Zorba, have made a dream possible with world class concerts for all the jazz aficionados in India.
The entire hand comprises of a saxophonist, an acoustic rhythm guitarist, trumpet sections and the Russian jazz star - vocalist Polina Zizak. The Igor's Big Band also interpreted great jazz classics by pioneering artistes such as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Basie as well as presented their original compositions inspired by Russian folk songs, and pieces from albums such as The Eternal Triangle and Sheherazade's Tales.
Butman, originally a tenor saxophonist, says he remembers making the transition from a rock fan to a jazz musician as a teenager growing up in the former USSR. "I loved classic rock, but after I heard jazz, there was no going back," he said. Butman's orchestra founded in 1999 has frequently toured Russia, Europe and USA, appearing at the world's most prestigious jazz venues, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, 'Birdland' and others.
On September 18- 20, 2003, jazz at Lincoln Center opened its 2003-04 season with a special collaboration between the renowned Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra led by Wynton Marsails and the Igor Butman Big Band. Two big hands on one stage occasionally played together, but more often passed the music back and force. In an interview with Jazz Times magazine, Marsalis said of Butman, "I love Igor Butman's playing and I love him personally. He has a great feeling for the music and people and he's a phenomenal musician. Igor Butman is my main man!"
Igor Butman Orchestra has four CDs released by Butman Music Records: a debut album 'Eternal Triangle' featuring Randy Brecker, 'Moscow @03am' with original music by an outstanding composer and pianist Nick Levinovsky featuring Wynton Marsalis as a special guest and a crossover live CD 'Sheherezade's Tales', with Nikolay Levinovsky's jazz arrangements of Russian romances and a symphonic suite 'Sheherezade by N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov, which features Sean Jones and Peter Bernstein. In 2013, Butman Music released Special Opinion, a brand new sensational album by N. Levinovsky and Igor Butman Orchestra with fusion and jazz rock super stars- saxophone player Bill Evans, guitarist Mike Stern and drummer Dave Weckl.
With dedication and inspiration of Jazz Addicts who promises "to revive the great sounds of Jazz in India", we look forward for the next round of concert tours by renowned musicians of lgor's Butman Jazz Orchestra.
Vladimir Zaitsev is a curator, author and museologist affiliated with the National Museum, New Delhi
abraxasLifestyle, January 2015