Saturday, February 06, 2016

Lew Tabackin Trio - Soundscapes

A new self-produced recording by the Lew Tabackin Trio, "Soundscapes," is one that certainly merits plenty of attention. Tabackin, whose career spans decades, continues to display remarkable fluency on tenor sax and flute and construct some remarkable improvisations. Tabackin is joined by bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Mark Taylor on this recording that was engineered by Jimmy Katz and mostly recorded at Steve Maxwell's Drum Shop, with the exception of one selection done at Tabackin's basement.

The opening performance, John Lewis' "Afternoon in Paris," immediately sets the tone with the authority and imagination of Tabackin's playing. The robustness of his playing along with the exemplary support by Kozlov and Taylor, and the trio's interplay, makes this and the entire album stand out. Particularly impressive selections include Tabackin's blues "Bb Where It's At" opening as a percussion supported duet between Tabackin and Kozlov that features the leader's marvelous improvisation with Taylor's accents on snare and cymbals adding to the performance's flair. Three selections feature Tabackin on flute of which his fat, wet playing on the standard "Yesterday's," stands out. Tabackin was a regular poll winner in the eighties and his playing on this and the rest of this recording illustrate why. Then there is a spellbinding interpretation of Billy Strayhorn's "Daydream."

When listening to a trio recording by a tenor saxophonist, one is reminded of legendary Sonny Rollins' "Live at the Village Vanguard." While not exclusively devoted to Tabackin on tenor, "Soundscapes" can stand the comparison and stands out as a superb hard bop trio recording.

I received a review copy from a publicist. Here is an extended excerpt of the Lew Tabackin Trio performing in Japan.

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