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Saxophonist Igor Butman, Pioneering Figure in Russian Jazz, Brings His Quintet to WBGO

Saxophonist Igor Butman is living proof of the power of music to cross-pollinate cultures, break barriers and make folks feel good.

He practically created a jazz culture in Russia — complete with festivals, seminars and developing musicians, like 31-year-old guitarist Evgeny Pobozhly, who recently won the Herbie Hancock International Jazz Guitar Competition; and outstanding pianist and vocalist Oleg Akkuratov, who finished in the top three at the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition a couple of years back.

They’re both part of Igor’s 18-piece Moscow Jazz Orchestra, onstage through Sunday night at the Blue Note in New York. Butman, Pobozhly and Akkuratov were joined by bassist Sergei Korchagian and drummer Eduardo Zizak during a live broadcast on Morning Jazz, sharing such spirited proficiency that it made us wonder what the big band version must feel like.

Here is the quintet's version of "Verdict," live in our performance studio.

Videography - Chris Tobin

Audio Mix and Video Edit - Corey Goldberg

In jazz radio, great announcers are distinguished by their ability to convey the spontaneity and passion of the music. Gary Walker is such an announcer, and his enthusiasm for this music greets WBGO listeners every morning. This winner of the 1996 Gavin Magazine Jazz Radio Personality of the Year award has hosted the morning show each weekday from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. And, by his own admission, he's truly having a great time.