Lew Tabackin Trio

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Last Show: Friday 5 th November 2021

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

Jazz great Lew Tabackin returns to PizzaExpress Jazz Club for two special nights. Flautist and tenor saxophonist Tabackin is an artist of astonishing vision. His electrifying 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 mood and tempo, and purposeful fervour, all in the service of showing the full range of possibilities of his instrument - melodically, rhythmically, and dynamically. Without copying or emulating jazz greats of the past, Tabackin has absorbed elements into his style, ultimately creating his own sound and aura. He will be joined in his return to Dean Street by his regular drummer Mark Taylor and talented Scottish bassist Calum Gourlay.


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"Practically from the instant a musician decides to play jazz, the quest begins to find a personal voice. The process can sometimes take a lifetime; some individuals never really find one. To find a personal voice on more than one instrument is almost impossible, unless your name is Lew Tabackin."

Saxophone Journal

Tabackin first made his name in the bands of Tal Farlow, Cab Calloway, Maynard Ferguson, Joe Henderson, Chuck Israels, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Clark Terry, and Duke Pearson. During the late 1960's, he led a trio at a club called La Boheme in Philadelphia, 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 and the 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 Orchestra and the Hamburg Jazz Workshop. 

In 1968 he met Toshiko Akiyoshi when the two played together in a quartet. They eventually married and moved to Los Angeles, where they formed the award-winning big band known as the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra. While in Los Angeles, Mr. Tabackin also played with Shelley Manne and with various trios of his own with Billy Higgins, John Heard, and Charlie Haden. He also toured Japan frequently with Ms. Akiyoshi and her orchestra as well as with his own trio, which included drummer Joey Baron and bassist Michael Moore.

Since the 1980's Tabackin has got some long overdue recognition as a flautist, winning many DownBeat critic's and reader's polls. He has solidified his position as a major tenor saxophone and flute artist, both in live concerts 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 the acclaimed I'll Be Seeing You with Benny Green, Peter Washington, and Lewis Nash. In 1994 the same group recorded What a Little Moonlight Can Do. Mr.Tabackin has also been associated with several all-star bands, including George Wein's Newport All-Star Band, the New York Jazz Giants, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band.

Band Lineup

Lew Tabackin (saxophone/flute)

Calum Gourlay (bass)

Mark Taylor (drums)