November 1961, Leningrad, USSR. Encouraged in music from a very early age by his father, an amateur drummer and singer, Butman first took piano lessons although he really wanted to be a drummer. At the age of 11, however, a music teacher persuaded him to take up the clarinet. He was briefly at the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music, but then studied alto saxophone with Gennedy Golstain at the Mussorgsky School of Music in the mid- to late 70s. At the end of the decade he was in a band led by multi-instrumentalist David Goloshchokin. He then played in the big band led by Oleg Lundstrem, before joining pianist Nikolai Levinovskys Allegro. Because Allegros book called for a tenor saxophonist, Butman again switched instruments, this time finding his true métier. Among other bands with which he played were Popular Mechanics, Kino and Aquarium.
Butman had taught himself to speak English and therefore was able to talk to visiting...