Moscow Shadows And Igor Butman

Occasional Rifftides Moscow correspondent Svetlana Ilyicheva sent a dramatic photo by the Russian photographer Pavel Korbut. We show it to you with Mr. Korbut’s permission. The shadows are those of trumpeter V. Eilenkrieg, saxophonist Dmitry Mos’pan and an unidentified third musician, possibly a bassist. Mr. Korbut caught them performing recently at the Igor Butman Club in Moscow.

Pavel Korbut Shadows

At 52, tenor saxophonist—and club owner—Igor Butman is one of the best known Russian jazz artists. Most American listeners Clinton, Butmanbecame aware of him when he appeared on the late Grover Washington’s 1988 album Then and Now. At 16, he entered the Rimsky-Korsakov College of music and later majored in performance and composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Former president Bill Clinton once declared that Butman was his favorite living saxophonist.

Playing as Butman did in a performance at the Triumph Of Jazz festival in 2002 may have had something to with Mr. Clinton’s enthusiasm. Here’s Butman’s big band with trumpeter Randy Brecker and drummer Billy Cobham as guests, playing Brecker’s “Some Skunk Funk.” Brecker solos first.

U.S.-Russia relations were good that night. Thanks to Pavel Korbut and Svetlana Ilyicheva for the shadows photograph and the inspiration.

While we’re at it, here is Butman in another exercise in international amity, soloing on his composition “Nostalgia” in 2011 with the Swiss Army Big Band under the direction of Pepe Lienhard


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  1. Don Conner says

    Great videos Doug. I was particularly impressed with “Nostalgia,” which was a tour de force for Mr. Butman. I was expecting to hear the old Fats Navarro take written on the chords of “Out of Nowhere,” but was pleasantly surprised.