Oleg Butman

Caribbean Jazz

Caribbean Jazz is Oleg Butman's new project which delivers a totally new sound. It started in 2009 when Oleg met Leon Foster Thomas and his unusual instrument called the «Steelpan». Their collaboration started immediately with them playing concerts in the USA and later Oleg inviting Leon to Russia for several.

In 2011 Oleg invited Leon to record on his new album, «Runway» performing in several compositions. This album was released in 2012. The charming music of the Antilles can be heard in Oleg Butman’s new project, «Caribbean Jazz» as it takes you to this sunny land to introduce you to its traditions and history. You will hear the Calypso music, reggae, and Leon’s original music rooted in the Trinidad island. Metal sounds made by his steel pan beautifully color jazz canvases with new shades reminding of the Caribbean Sea. Natalia Smirnova’s lyrical and tender vocals create harmony and balance Yin and Yang, thus making the program laconic and complete.

The Steelpan is a chromatically pitched percussion instrument originating from Trinidad and Tobago. The 55-gallon oil drums left by US military forces on Antilles after World War II were used to make steelpans from around 1947. Now steelpans are built using sheet metal with a thickness between 0.8 and 1.5 mm. The instrument is tuned by molding petal-shaped areas of different sizes into the surface and getting the right pitch for each area. Steelpan is the single non-electronic musical instrument that was invented in the 20th century. Leon Foster Thomas is one of the few masters of this amazing instrument.

Leon Foster Thomas was born on August 25, 1981 in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago, amidst the Caribbean Sea. At the age of 3, Leon started playing with the African drummers led by his father Loderick «Rollo» Foster. In several years he already participated in traditional carnivals on the Trinidad island with the group. In 1993, the young drummer discovered the steelpan, and in a few years he became soloist in Panasonic Connection and Fonclaire Steel Orchestra. In his 20s, he has already been a true star on the islands, having no equal in steel pan playing.

But Leon wanted to move on and left Trinidad for the USA where he graduated from the Florida Memorial University in 2008. Leon then became a world-class musician. He is a virtuoso of his instrument, an outstanding improviser and a great expert of music styles, so he has been in high demand by Latin Jazz projects. His music partners are Len «Boogsie» Sharp, Carlton «Zander» Alexander, Slinger Francisco «Mighty Sparrow», David Rudder, Denyse Plummer, Pelham Goddard, Ray Holman, Winston Bailey, Ken «Professor» Philmore, Dolly Parton, Melton Mustafa, Richard Smallwood, Sam Henry, Cyril Neville and Abraham Laboriel. In 2011, Foster released his first album «What You Don't Know», where he also debuted as a composer.