Euro-Jazz Scores at Toronto Jazz Festival

Jerry D'Souza, ,
July 27, 2006


(...) Igor Butman builds several of his compositions over Russian folk tunes. He turns them into little vignettes that boast the musical melodies of his native land and the harmonization of jazz. He also takes bop into his own realm and comes up with compositions that are vibrant and earthy. Butman plays the tenor saxophone with a fiery spirit. He emblazons a trail that burns, pushes boundaries and moulds shape with each note. The soprano saxophone came out for “Callahan Tunnel”? the beginning of the journey calm and collected before impatience and angst pushed those elements out of the way. But obstacles have a way of clearing and the gentle strain of the melody came on again to close out the adventure. It was a story that drew the listener in. Butman showed his gentler side on “Prophecy.”? It is a beautifully structured tune, the melody capturing the soul and graced by the artistry of the musicians. In the midst of it all came a sizzling version of “Caravan.” Butman’s cut away from the melody and sent phrases soaring. He never let the pulse go for a moment and after he had navigated his world, he came back to fulfillment on the line that set him free.

Butman had a stellar band to help create a crackling atmosphere. Anton Baronin on piano stretches a tune with lyrical insight, Eduard Zizak is a sturdy drummer whose drive accents with a potent power and Vitaly Solomonov gives the bass a melodic edge and chord progressions creating patterns that lure the listener into its fold.