Before & After: Igor Butman

Listening With Russia’s Jazz Ambassador


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.


Igor Brill and Evgeny Onishchenko

It’s a sad fact that pianist Igor Brill doesn’t play the U.S. very often. Though he’s worked with Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson and Michael Brecker, Brill has spent most of the past three decades teaching at the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow. He came to D.C. this week to perform some private concerts, as well as providing the musical climax at the inaugural launch of American University’s Initiative for Russian Culture at the Library of Congress. He was joined in performance by bassist Evgeny Onishchencko, Sept. 20, 2011.