Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Sauter, Jim (James Henry)

Sauter, Jim (James Henry), saxophones; b. Nyack. NY, 23 July 1953. Sauter grew up in a musical family in West Nyack, NY with father Henry E. Sauter, b.1928, Upper Nyack, NY, mother born Shirley Lenz, b.1928 Nyack, NY, (an accomplished pianist/church organist still active) brother David, b.1955 (played trombone in school bands) and sister Lori, b. 1959 (played trumpet in school bands).

As a child Sauter took private piano lessons from age 7-12 from Marion Gillies. He began playing tenor saxophone in the West Nyack Elementary School band under the direction of Mario Minicini, the middle school with Dr. Lillian Chiat, Clarkstown High School concert and marching band with Richard Sitts, and orchestra and jazz band with Dr. Edward Carney. Sauter's interest in jazz developed while attending SUNY of Geneseo (1971-1973). He was first exposed to the music of Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy, Archie Shepp and Sun Ra while hosting a late-night weekly program on WGSU-FM, an innovative radio station under the direction of John Devlin. He performed in the Geneseo concert band with James Walker, conductor, and took saxophone lessons with Raymond Ricker of Eastman School of Music. He transferred and continued his art studies receiving a BFA, magna cum laude, from Syracuse University, 1975 where he also studied electronic music composition as an elective with Franklin Morris (1974-1975) Sauter's first public performance upon graduating and returning to the NY metropolitan area was in an ensemble led by pianist/composer Bob Milnes for the dedication of an outdoor sculpture installation by the late Dennis Valinski at Waterside Plaza in NYC (1976). The ensemble also included bassist Stephen Roane, percussionist, A.  Ambert, and Don Dietrich- life-long friend, saxophonist, and co-founder of the "avant-jazz" ensemble Industrial Strength. Industrial Strength's first public performance (1978) at the Rockland Center for the Arts in West Nyack, NY was attended by an encouraging Eddie Sauter, composer/arranger/relative.  The second one later that year was interrupted by a bomb threat forcing everyone to evacuate the building. Once cleared by the police the concert resumed. Guitarist Donald Miller first joined Sauter and Dietrich to provide the musical accompaniment  for "Concert for 3 Musicians, 4 mechanics and 1968 Volkswagen" (1979) as 4 mechanics dissembled a "bug" using pneumatic tools and chisels at a Texaco Station in New City, NY. A close friendship and musical alliance began and continues to this day. Since 1982 Sauter has served as executive director of the not-for-profit new music organization Borbetomagus Inc. The organization has organized and sponsored dozens of concerts and several festivals funded in part by Meet the Composer, New York State Council on the Arts, and local businesses. Concerts hosted by Industrial Strength a.k.a. Borbetomagus have included saxophonist, Peter Brotzmann, power-electronics wizard/instrument maker, Hugh Davies, multi instrumentalist Milo Fine, cellist Tristan Honsinger, and the late German bassist Peter Kowald to name but a few. Sauter helped organize and participate in "Sounds and Visions" a group show with visual artists and musicians Don Dietrich, Donald Miller, Michael David and Mary Mulchahy (Mary and the Immaculates) at the Rockland center for the Arts (1982). Sauter, with Dietrich, organized and performed at NEW DIRECTIONS. Three day-long festivals in Piermont, NY that featured an amazing list of national and international artists as diverse as David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir and Richard Stotts of the Plasmatics (1985-87). Since 1979 Sauter has continued to work almost exclusively with fellow "Borbetos" Don Dietrich and Donald Miller. Others that have performed with some regularity as part of Borbetomagus include original member Brian Doherty (electronics) Adam Nodelman (bass) the late Frank Balesteri (vocals/rantings) Kathy O'Sullivan who belly dances under the name Zhameela Safeyeh, and Mark Adler (percussion). Other musicians with whom he has collaborated include Rashied Ali, Frank Wright, Beaver Harris, Andrew Cyrille, Norbert Moslang and Andy Guhl of Voice Crack, Dennis Palmer and Bob Stagner of The Shaking Ray Levis, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, and Rudolph Grey. Sauter has performed with Borbetomagus at major jazz, new music showcases and festivals in the US, Europe, and Japan. Some of his significant performances include Hunter Art Museum Chattanooga, TN, New Music Across America Cleveland, OH, New Music America Philadelphia, PA, Festival Musique Actuelle Victoriaville, Canada, Kool Jazz Festival New York, NY, Carnegie Melon Institute Pittsburgh, PA, Music Gallery Toronto, Canada, Club Lower Links Chicago, IL, CBGB New York, NY, Franklin Furnace New York, NY, Soundscape New York NY, Knitting Factory New York, NY, The Kitchen New York, NY, Klang Atlanta, GA, Free Jazz Festival Philadelphia, PA, DC Space Washington, DC, AIR Gallery North Brunswick, NJ, Wet Spot Philadelphia, PA, PS 1 New York, NY, PS 122 New York, NY, Experimental Intermedia Center New York, NY , Tufts University Boston, MA, Massachusetts College of Art Boston, MA, Bergen Community College Paramus, NJ, Glaxa, Los Angeles, CA, WKCR-FM New York, NY, WFMU- FM East Orange, NJ, Actual Festival London, England, Jazz Days Festival Leipzig, Germany, Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, Grabenhalle St. Gallen, Switzerland, Bears, Osaka, Japan, 3rd Annual Festival of Improvised Music London, England, The London Musician's Collective London, England, The Rote Fabrik Zurich, Switzerland, Takutaku, Kyoto, Japan, Musique Action Nancy, France, The Shot Gun Gallery Strasbourg, France, Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA, Jabberjaw, Los Angeles, CA, Lamama, Tokyo, Japan, NoMusic Festival 99, London Ontario, Musee d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg and The Spitz, London, England.

Jim Sauter lives in Sparkill, NY with his wife Rosalie and two sons, Everett (b. 1987, tenor saxophone) and Craig (b. 1989, alto saxophone).

Borbetomagus (1980); Work On What Has Been Spoiled (1981); Borbetomagus (1982); Mary & the Immaculates/Borbetomagus: Trip to Jonestown b/w Concordat 8 (1982); Borbetomagus III (1982); Barbed Wire Maggots (1983); Zurich (1984); Jim Sauter & Don Dietrich: Bells Together (1985); New York Performances (1986); Borbetomagus & Voice Crack: Fish That Sparkling Bubble (1987), Asbestos Shake (1990);  Buncha Hair That Long (1990); Borbetomagus & The Shaking Ray Levis: Coelacanth (1991); Experience the Magic (1992); Coelacanth; Seven Reasons for Tears (1993); L'Atlas Des Galaxies Etranges (1993); Borbetomagus & Voice Crack: Concerto for Cracked Everyday-Electronics and Chamber Orchestra (1994); Songs Our Mother Taught Us (1995); Live in Tokyo (1996); The Original Chirping Chicken/Choking Olga; Live at InRoads; Borbetomagus & Voice Crack; Live in  Allentown; Borbetomagus & Friends: Borbeto Jam, Industrial Strength; Jim Sauter, Don Dietr ich, & Thurston Moore: Barefoot in the Head (reissue of LP originally released on Forced Exposure); Compilations: Desperately Seeking Suicide (1987), Apollo and Marsyas, An anthology of new music concerts at Het Apollohuis 1980-1997, Het Apollohuis 1995-2001, No 99 (NoMusic Festival '99), Umlauted Roman Numeral (1999), Infinity Loop, America the Beautiful, State of the Union, Second Sixty Second Compilation, Japan World Records, N.Y. Eye and Ear Control, Japan Zero Noise, Mighty Risen Plea, God Bless America, Swallowing Scrap Metal, New Federalism, Japan Organic Mind Workshop, 40 Days/40 Nights, New York Noise Fest;
As sideperson:
Sonic youth: Murray Street; FAT: Hit (These 4); Rudolph Grey: Mask of Light; The Blue Humans: Incandescence; 99 Hooker: White Music 4 Jass Peephole; God is My Co-pilot: Tight Like Fist: Live Recording

Radio broadcasts:
Numerous performances and interviews at Columbia University's WKCR-FM in NYC and at WFMU-FM in East Orange, NJ.

Videos and films:
Brief appearance in "Moby Dick"  RRR Records, Lowell, MA; Brief appearance in "What About Me" a documentary on the Nihlist Spasm Band by Zev Asher.

Unissued videos:
Approximately 1 1/2 hours of un-issued video footage of Borbetomagus from the 1998 Japanese tour sponsored by Alchemy Records, Osaka. Approximately 6 hours of un-issued video that includes interviews and live performances of Borbetomagus by filmmaker Brian Carpenter his film on Albert Ayler.

Articles and interviews:
Cadence (interview with Jim Sauter) May 1982
Option, May/June 1985
Downbeat,  February 1985
SPIN, November/December 1987
Ear,  February 1989
The WIRE,  December 1984 and July 2003 issues
The Penguin Guide to Jazz, 1992
SPIN Alternative Music Guide, 1995
The Trouser Press Guide to 90's Rock, 1997
Virgin Guide to 80's Rock

Awards and grants:
CAPS Grant, Creative Artists Public Service Award, Music Composition, 1981

Contact information:

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