Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,537 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The next few months I'm working on my project- I've picked some specific players who have mastered both saxophone and flute, and who seemed to do some ground breaking stuff on flute to bring that voice to the next level in jazz history.

Lew Tabackin is the next one on my timeline. What are your favorite Lew Tabackin recordings?

Any advice on recordings, best solos to transcribe, transcriptions I can analyze, interesting biographical info., photographs, books,articles, etc. would be much appreciated.

View attachment 229002



Originally from South Philadelphia, Lew Tabackin started on flute as a child and picked up tenor in high school. As a young person, he saw bands like the Benny Goodman Big Band at the Earle Theater and particularly liked Al Cohn, a local favorite. Tabackin graduated from the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music in flute performance, studied with composer Vincent Persichetti, and then served in the U.S. Army for a few years in the early 1960's. Tabackin moved to New York City and in the late 1960's-70's played with many of the great jazz players, such as Tal Farlow and with big bands such as Cab Calloway, Maynard Ferguson, Joe Henderon and Mel Lewsin/Thad Jones. He also played with smaller groups including Donald Byrd and Elvin Jones, and with Doc Severenson for Dick Cavett's television show. Tabackin then worked as a soloist in Europe.

In 1968 he met Toshiko Akiyoshi who was a sub piano player for Clark Terry's group. They married, and then moved to Los Angeles. Tabackin then played in the big band that Toshiko Akiyoshi formed on a very small budget. He also played with Shelly Manne, a group with Billy Higgins, John Heard and Charlie Haden; and in his own trio with Joey Baron and Michael Moore. He toured in Japan frequently during this time.

In the 1980's Tabackin won Downbeat's critic's choice for best flutist several times as well as other awards as a prominent jazz flute player. Tabackin and Akiyoshi then moved back to New York, and he released his first disc with Concord, playing with Hank Jones, Dave Holland and Victor Lewis. He also released the highly acclaimed record, What a Little Moonlight Can Do with Benny Green, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash. He played with several All-Star bands in the late 1980's including the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. His 1996 record Tenority focused solely on his tenor playing.

He continues to perform at jazz festivals and gigs around the world.

Tabackin has cited Al Cohn and Coleman Hawkins as influences on saxophone, while his flute role models include classical players such as William Kincaid, Julius Baker, and Jean-Pierre Rampal. Critic Scott Yanow describes Tabackin as "one of the few jazz musicians who has been able to develop completely different musical personalities on two instruments", with his forceful hard bop style on sax contrasting with his delicate flute playing. Tabackin is one of the “Jazz Jews” discussed in Mike Gerber’s book of that name.

In terms of the political and cultural climate of the time, Tabackin and Akiyoshi relocated to the West Coast in the 1970's, apparently because white jazz musicians were shunned during the Black Liberation movement that was prominent in the New York Jazz Community.

Today, Tabackin is admired for the entirely different personalities he expresses on the two instruments which he plays; a “rather disputatious, talkative sax, and a refined, spiritually adept flute”. Tabackin said in an interview with All About Jazz: “It’s not easy to balance the two instruments because they are great enemies.”

As I'm listening to his recordings, Lew Tabackin is by far the superior flute player when compared to all the players I'm researching. His level of virtuosity and willingness to add other ethnic music into his palette has given him the freedom to truly innovate and have his own distinct sound on both flute and saxophone.
 

·
Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
Joined
·
9,734 Posts
Hahahahahahaha - ALL OF THEM!!!!! And don't forget the Akiyoshi - Tabackin Big Band that heavily featured him as a soloist.

Here are two that come right to mind though:

Phil Woods / Lew Tabackin
Let the Tape Roll
What a Little Moonlight Can Do

OK that's three actually.

He seems a devotee of the Don Byas school, and manages to sound traditional and modern at the same time. I love his playing to death.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,537 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
He seems a devotee of the Don Byas school, and manages to sound traditional and modern at the same time. I love his playing to death.
I was thinking this too- he seems to be a transitional figure kind of bridging the 60's-70's-80's-
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
Lew is insane. Well, in a good kinda way. I've listened to him a lot with the big band (Akiyoshi/Tabackin) and have two albums (yes, albums) of his. I've also watched many vids of him on youtube and although you've probably already done that.....if not, get going! His tenor playing is......well......intense. For me at times, almost too intense. He's one of those guys who I almost have to be in a certain mood to listen to for some reason. His flute chops are absolutely insane and I just shake my head when listening to him play that instrument. JoffeWoodwinds and Jazz Video Guy have two GREAT interviews with him on YT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,537 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,357 Posts
I don't know his recordings that well but I've seen him live several times both in trio and with the big band. He really is a monstrously good player at the highest level.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
EVERYONE here should watch the wonderful videos tha Ed Joffe makes. Here’s his interview with Lew Tabackin...
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,010 Posts
He's a great musician. I was lucky enough to see him live with the Akiyoshi - Tabackin Big Band at the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society (a small venue run by the late Pete Douglas on the coast near where I live) back I think in the late '80s. The band was great too, of course, including Toshiko on piano. I'm sure all of his recordings are worth a listen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,432 Posts
I met Gary Foster who played in the band and is a master flute player also.
They both effectively exploited the use of the eight note scales.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
I got to hear the Akiyoshi -Lew Tabackin Big Band back in 1982 ( ouch, that hurts. ). Huge, huge fan. If you really want to get a taste of what he is capable of, try to get a copy of " Tanuki's Night Out ". All ten previous albums by the group had been written and arranged by Toshiko but on this album , all the tunes are written by Lew with Toshiko doing the orchestration. What you hear is Lew Tabackin really putting his all into these songs, I get chills everytime I play it. Listening to the way he builds up a tune on " Lew's Theme ", lays out a deep blues on "Lament for Sonny " or powers up some danceable funk with " A Bit Byas'd ", you'll definitely learn from one of the best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
Riffling through my vinyl I came across a little gem I hadn't listened to in ages, 'Tenor Gladness ' , Lew Tabackin and Warne Marsh with John Heard on bass. No flute on any of the tunes but Warne and Lew really push each other and make some great music. Why does it always take me aback when I look at the date on a record and see 1979 ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,537 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Lew Tabackin uses exotic scales and techniques that sound "Asian"- does anyone know of a good discussion of these techniques, either in the context of Tabackin playing them or just general information? I'm listening and looking through some transcriptions- I can hear them but I need to identify them for my paper. Thank you!
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,010 Posts
EVERYONE here should watch the wonderful videos tha Ed Joffe makes. Here’s his interview with Lew Tabackin...
That's a great interview. And starting at about 49:00 Lew gives a really valuable insight on playing with your head tilted up so the throat is open, resulting in a much bigger, fuller sound. Do this by adjusting the neck strap high enough that you don't tilt your head down, which chokes off the sound to an extent. I've found this to be very true. And you can prove it to yourself by holding a long tone, then tilting your head up and down, while listening to what happens to the sound.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
That's a great interview. And starting at about 49:00 Lew gives a really valuable insight on playing with your head tilted up so the throat is open, resulting in a much bigger, fuller sound. Do this by adjusting the neck strap high enough that you don't tilt your head down, which chokes off the sound to an extent. I've found this to be very true. And you can prove it to yourself by holding a long tone, then tilting your head up and down, while listening to what happens to the sound.
I'll kind of agree and disagree at the same time (shocking huh?). Personally, I find tilting my head "up" to be quite unnatural and/or uncomfortable. I prefer to try to keep my head and chin/jaw more forward than up. Make sense? Not literally stick my chin out while blowing, but I think you get what I mean. That also opens up the throat in the same fashion, which I feel is incredibly important.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
EVERYONE here should watch the wonderful videos tha Ed Joffe makes. Here’s his interview with Lew Tabackin...
Wow, there’s a lot packed into that interview, thx for sharing. It was great to hear how Tabackin thinks about things; some great stories, a window into a jazz world of yesteryear, from someone who’s still very much in the game, trying to grow and focus on his voice.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,010 Posts
I'll kind of agree and disagree at the same time (shocking huh?). Personally, I find tilting my head "up" to be quite unnatural and/or uncomfortable. I prefer to try to keep my head and chin/jaw more forward than up. Make sense? Not literally stick my chin out while blowing, but I think you get what I mean. That also opens up the throat in the same fashion, which I feel is incredibly important.
Yeah, makes total sense. I also don't like tilting my head way back. But I've found that you don't have to do that. It's a pretty subtle amount of positioning that makes a significant difference. As you say, chin/jaw forward does the trick. Mostly it's a matter of avoiding bending your head downwards, which is what can happen when your neck strap is adjusted too long, or you're bending down to a mic that is too low, or you look down at the floor, etc. Like I said, it's pretty easy to figure out by holding a long tone and tilting your head either way and listening to what happens so you find the 'sweet spot'. Just something to be aware of.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician.
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
I/m a big fan, have seen him live in NYC a few times now and own a few of his records.His gigs are always amazing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,587 Posts
JL, it always seemed to me that Lew does this when he solos, especially when he wants to get those throaty tones. It's interesting to see and hear Tabackin next to Bobby Watson, a clear contrast in styles where throat tones are concerned.


Yeah, makes total sense. I also don't like tilting my head way back. But I've found that you don't have to do that. It's a pretty subtle amount of positioning that makes a significant difference. As you say, chin/jaw forward does the trick. Mostly it's a matter of avoiding bending your head downwards, which is what can happen when your neck strap is adjusted too long, or you're bending down to a mic that is too low, or you look down at the floor, etc. Like I said, it's pretty easy to figure out by holding a long tone and tilting your head either way and listening to what happens so you find the 'sweet spot'. Just something to be aware of.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top