Tenor saxophonist, bandleader and entrepreneur Igor Butman occupies a unique place in Russian jazz circles for his considerable musical skills, media visibility and savvy political connections. The St. Petersburg-born Berklee graduate is not only recognized as the most famous Russian jazz musician in the world today, he also runs a successful record label, operates two jazz clubs and provides artistic direction for a jazz festival.
In my early days at WPFW-FM, I worked as an engineer for our live broadcasts in and around Washington D.C. In the summer of 1984, we set up at the Carter Barron Amphitheater to broadcast Dizzy Gillespie’s concert, but at the last minute our host couldn’t make it so I stepped in to improvise the intermission interview with Dizzy.
Ray Barretto suggested we do the interview for this piece following his Kennedy Center gig back in 2004. We sat in his hotel room at the Watergate and stayed up until the early morning hours listening to music and sharing stories. When we finished and he was walking me to the door, I asked if there was anything he would have wanted me to play for him. He said yes, Duke Ellington. Ray Barretto passed away 16 months later at the age of 76.
1. James Moody
“Tin Tin Deo,” from Chano Pozo: El Tambor de Cuba (Tumbao). James Moody, tenor sax; Ernie Henry, alto sax; Dave Burns, Elamn Wight, trumpet; Cecil Payne, baritone sax; James Forman, piano; Nelson Boyd, bass; Art Blakey, drums; Chano Pozo, conga, vocal. Recorded in 1948. Continue reading →