Jim Butler Jim Butler
Jim Butler
Biography [ Japanese Version... ]
Jim Butler
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The Jim Butler quartet

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24 Track

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Jim Butler, a native Californian, has been playing the saxophone for over 45 years. He focuses on modern and original jazz. The Jim Butler Jazz Group have recorded seven CDs: "Journeys" (2003); "Live in Tokyo!" (2005); "Night of a Thousand Years" (2009); "Postcards from the World" (2014); "Let’s Get Lost" (2019); "Perseverance" (2022); and "Short Stories" (2023).

Jim started out as a music educator, directing a jazz ensemble and teaching saxophone, woodwinds, and Jazz Studies at The University of North Florida. He has a Doctorate in Music from the University of Texas at Austin.  During this time he appeared professionally as a saxophonist with many different artists including Mel Torme, Crystal Gail, The Drifters, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Campesi, and Sam Moore.

Jim was Lead Alto Saxophonist for the United States Air Force Field Bands for 23 years until his retirement in 2018. In the Air Force Band, he toured to North and South America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Bob Mintzer, Ed Shaughnessy, Jim McNeely, Toni Tennille, and other notables in the music industry. As Director of the Air Force Commanders Jazz Ensemble, he led the group in tours of the United Sates, and to the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Jim is a former saxophone student of Harvey Pittel and Jim Rotter, and has also studied with David Liebman and Charles McPherson.

Jim lives in Tokyo and remains very active as a musician and educator. Catch the group at their next show! You can see more information here on this homepage, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jim.butler.9, or Instagram. Also, check out his YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4SBkxw_lJYa4Lx6pyuVkSQ


Jim Butler Group
In the crowded firmament of Tokyo’s professional jazz scene, Jim Butler’s star shines brighter than ever. His live performances range from merely excellent to inspired and, on occasion, incendiary. Each one of his several CDs has outperformed the ones that came before, and Short Stories is no exception.

For those already familiar with Jim’s playing, Short Stories will be a welcome addition to a collection full of great music. And for those who are just starting to know his work, this is more than a beautiful introduction; it's a feast of superb compositions, many original, all beautifully played by the best sidemen in Tokyo, and featuring Jim’s incomparably lyrical alto.

Many years ago I heard him say, “Every horn player dreams of having a distinctive sound, something that identifies him immediately in a listener’s mind. All the great players had it, and that is my dream, too.” Anyone who has ever heard one of his live shows knows that Jim nailed that a long time ago. This album is simply extra proof of a dream fulfilled.
- David Russell ("Dr Jazz"), Tokyo, March 2024

Short Stories
Altoist and soprano-saxophonist Jim Butler played with the United States Air Force Field Bands for 23 years, traveling and performing all over the world. He led six CDs including two after leaving the Air Force in 2018: Let’s Get Lost and Perseverance. He has since settled in Tokyo where he plays regularly and is an educator.

Short Stories, which was recorded in Tokyo in 2023, is Butler’s seventh as a leader and it is quite impressive. The saxophonist displays very original sounds and styles on both of his horns, contributes six originals that are mostly harmonically adventurous while swinging, and uplifts four standards. He is joined by pianist David Berkman, bassist Kengo Nakamura, and drummer Gene Jackson plus two singers who have one vocal apiece.

Butler wrote his originals to musically depict pictures of everyday life although his playing and that of his quartet is anything but commonplace. The opener, “Green, Yellow And Stars,” is meant to convey the excitement of a car ride taking one to new adventures. The high-powered piece has a good bit of Butler’s passionate alto playing and fine spots for Berkman and the fiery Jackson. “The Edge Of Darkness” is an atmospheric work conveying the complexity and beauty of love. It has long unisons played by Butler and Berkman and a lyrical bass solo from Nakamura that has a calming effect on the music. “Never Say Goodbye” is a wistful piece about people who are significant during a period of one’s life but who eventually fade out and disappear without actually saying goodbye. It includes thoughtful statements by Berkman and Butler. The uptempo cooker “The Hurricane” is a tribute to the late saxophonist Andrew Speight.

“Guess Who I Saw Today” was one of Nancy Wilson’s trademark songs. Crissey Saalborn, who saves the “punch line” for the very end, does a fine job of making the song quite personal with the leader supplying some sympathetic soprano playing. Jim Butler adds more variety to the set on “The Lion,” a funky number with a catchy melody that makes creative use of simplicity. The leader makes a heartfelt statement on soprano during “Blue In Green” while Aimee Blackschleger’s singing on “Killing Me Softly With His Song” is lively yet quietly dramatic. Short Stories concludes with the straight ahead “Oblivion Blues” and a romp through “Stella By Starlight” with Butler really tearing into the latter.

Throughout Short Stories, Jim Butler invigorates the modern mainstream of jazz by playing fresh solos on the potentially challenging material. The easily recommended CD is quite enjoyable and gives one a strong sample of his talents as both a soloist and a composer.
- Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian, Los Angeles, March 2024

Butler’s sax has a simplicity to it that belies its complexity and directed energy. He plays sax that sounds natural and right,but engages at all kinds of levels. Whether it’s dancing notes across the funky version of “Afro Blue” or dropping notes like raindrops on “So Many Stars,” he always plays with the right tone, feel and connection.”
– Michael Pronko, “Jazz in Japan (September 2018)

Postcards From The World…A formidable 4tet functioning with a unified lyrical sense of purpose embraces Butler's vision while each has their own room to engage in the melodic conversation put forth on this inspired and inspiring release…Butler is as technically proficient as he is artistically gifted, strong tone and a solid technique yet with the ability to shift dynamics on the fly have his game on par with some of his major label contemporaries. Covers are few but incredibly noteworthy and solid…Butler takes the title of legit jazz triple threat one step further as instrumentalist, composer, arranger and producer. One of the top Independent releases for 2014. Stellar!” - Brent Black, www.Criticaljazz.com April 28, 2014

Jim Butler’s new CD, Postcards from the World, should have a label attached: warning contents are hot. Butler’s fiery alto takes the listener on a tour of his own compositions and a couple of standards for good measure. Blistering tempos that always swing make this a must for any collection.” –Bill Moody, jazz drummer, author of The Man in Red Square, and host of “Stolen Moments in Jazz” on KSBY FM 91.3 San Francisco - April 17, 2014

"Postcards from the World" by the Jim Butler Group is an exciting new collection of works and performances that sound both fresh and clearly are the reflection of a man who respects the rich history of jazz composition and high octane saxophone performance. Wickedly inventive and passionate music." -Dr Todd Oxford, Professor of Saxophone, Southwest Texas State University, April 11, 2014

The musical journey from the Postcards starts off from the "Road to Mombasa," a modern fiery burner inspired by a searing memory traveling on the most dangerous road between Nairobi and Mombasa. Unfortunately, the music is too good here and will only serve to heighten those thoughts if Butler had ever sought to erase them. The classic standard "Invitation" provides one of the many highlights found on the album, with an expansive arrangement that features some of the altoist’s best inviting solos of the disc. Yet, when you think you've heard the best of the lot, there's the driving "Eastern Samba" featuring more from the leader as well as excellent solos from the pianist and support from Gentry on the brushes. Made into a classic by the great Dizzy Gillespie "Tin Tin Deo" takes on new form here as Butler's arrangement develops the exotic elements of the tune into a straight number without detouring too much from its classic base. "Sunrise in Stockholm" and "Afternoon Falling on Nairobi" are as different as the titles indicate; one is up lifting and cheery while the other is comprised of a calmer texture. Now for the swing side of the spectrum, "Bangkok at Night" says it all as Butler and band mates let it all hang out on this one.

Adding a bit of post-bop to the repertoire, the "California Song" reminds Butler that Frisco is home yet, winding down the music, the band plays the last original and nod to journeys abroad with the very swinging "Kandahar" featuring plenty more of the leader's saxophone savvy. Hoagy Carmichael’s "Star Dust" closes the program on the very memorable Postcards from the World which, documents a compelling performance from saxophonist Jim Butler and crew, on one attention-grabbing session worth repeated spins, nicely done! – Edward Blanco, www.AllAboutJazz.com, May 18, 2014


"Night of 1000 Years": Some very good music lead by saxophonist Jim Butler with a wonderful rhythm section that shows a wonderful sense of lyricism – David Liebman, May 23, 2009

Jim Butler…a wonderful altoist…keep swingin!” – Donald Baily (Blue Note recording artist)

After a San Francisco concert a fan wrote: If you love jazz, this is the REAL DEAL...it is AWESOME music…www.yelp.com/biz/savanna-jazz, San Francisco, June 14, 2008

The CD "Live in Tokyo! “…Dream of World Peace” steals the show. This majestic ode...slowly builds to a cascading crescendo that has the whole foursome going for broke and reaching for the heavens… Frank Spignese, The Tokyo Advocate, December 2006

About Jim’s first CD, “Journeys”: “Jim Butler is a man that can, and will, play everything from all-out jazz to pure rock n’ roll… Butler is talented enough, and seasoned enough, to create music that challenges without losing sight of structure that swing”-- Jim Beal, San Antonio Express-News, March 7, 2003

Un vrai voyage, de la douceur à l'exaltation, de la légèreté à la mélancholie . Délicieux moments jazz, rock...les paysages changent et nous emportent .” Michele Jeulin, Grasse, France, Sept. 18, 2004

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Biography - Japanese Version

アメリカカリフォルニア州出身のジム・バトラーは40年以上のキャリアを持つサックス奏者です。どんなスタイルもこなしますが、特にモダンジャズとオリジナル曲に力を入れています。この20年、ジムは「ジム・バトラー ジャズ グループ」を率いてアメリカとアジアでツアーを行ってきました。去年まで5枚のCDを発売:

  • Journeys (2003)
  • Live in Tokyo! (2005)
  • Night of a Thousand Years (2009)
  • Postcards from the World (2014)
  • Let’s Get Lost (2019)

特に昨年のLet’s Get Lostは沢山の方々から高く評価されて、東京のFMラジオにも取材を受け、新しいCDとジムのライブ演奏を放送しました。


在米中ジムはかなり有名な先生達について習ってきました。その後米空軍バンドにて23年間リードアルトサックス奏者をつとめました。空軍バンドでは北米、南米、アジア、中東、そしてアフリカでのツアーを行い、ロス・フィル交響楽団やサンフランシスコ交響楽団との共演をされてきました。米空軍Commander’s Jazz Ensembleのディレクターとしてもアメリカ国内ツーアを行いました。

https://www.facebook.com/jim.butler.9 (ジム・バトラー)
https://www.facebook.com/Jim-Butler-Jazz-Group-179655095378318/ (バンド)