First Place, Flute, Swing Journal Reader's poll, 2007-2010 DownBeat International Critics Poll 2010 - Flute.
Lew Tabackin, flutist and tenor saxophonist, is an artist of astonishing vision. Hiselectrifying flute playing is at once virtuosic, primordial, cross-cultural, and passionate.His distinctive tenor sax style includes the use of wide intervals, abrupt changes of moodand tempo, and purposeful fervor, all in the service of showing the full range ofpossibilities of his instrument - melodically, rhythmically, and dynamically. Withoutcopying or emulating jazz greats of the past, Mr. Tabackin has absorbed elements intohis style, ultimately creating his own sound and aura.
His interestin music began in his birthplace, Philadelphia, where he first studied fluteand then tenor saxophone in high school. He majored in flute at the PhiladelphiaConservatory of Music (B.M. 1962) and studied privately with composer VincentPersichetti. After his U.S. Army service (1962-65), Mr. Tabackin moved to New Jerseyand then to New York, where he played first with Tal Farlow and Don Friedman and laterin the big bands led by Cab Calloway, Les and Larry Elgart, Maynard Ferguson, JoeHenderson, Chuck Israels, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Clark Terry, and Duke Pearson.During the late 1960's, Mr. Tabackin led a trio at a club called La Boheme inPhiladelphia, in addition to playing in smaller groups with Donald Byrd, Roland Hanna,Elvin Jones, and Attila Zoller. In those early years he worked with Doc Severinsen andthe studio band for Dick Cavett's television show. He also spent some time in Europe,where he was a soloist with various orchestras, including the Danish Radio Orchestraand the Hamburg Jazz Workshop.
In 1968he met Toshiko Akiyoshi when the two played together in a quartet. Theyeventually married and moved to Los Angeles, where they formed the award-winning bigband known as the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra. While in Los Angeles, Mr. Tabackinalso played with Shelley Manne and with various trios of his own with Billy Higgins, JohnHeard, and Charlie Haden. He also toured Japan frequently with Ms. Akiyoshi and herorchestra as well as with his own trio, which included drummer Joey Baron and bassistMichael Moore.
During the 1980'she began to get some long overdue recognition as a flutist, winningmany DownBeat critic's and reader's polls. In 1982 Mr. Tabackin and Ms. Akiyoshimoved to New York, which brought him back to the Manhattan jazz scene. Since then hehas solidified his position as a major tenor saxophone and flute artist, both in liveconcerts and on recordings. In 1990 Mr. Tabackin released his first disc for Concord,
Desert Lady, featuring Hank Jones, Dave Holland, and Victor Lewis, followed by theacclaimedI'll Be Seeing Youwith Benny Green, Peter Washington, and Lewis Nash. In1994 the same group recordedWhat a Little Moonlight Can Do. Mr.Tabackin has alsobeen associated with several all-star bands, including George Wein's Newport All-StarBand, the New York Jazz Giants, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band.
He continuesto tour the world as a soloist, playing clubs and jazz festivals with his owngroups and as featured soloist with the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra. In 1996Concord releasedTenority; Mr Tabackin's first recording on which he concentrates solelyon tenor sax. Subsequently, he has released the CDsTanuki's Night Out,Live In ParisandQuartet