The Kennedy Center

Lew Tabackin


Lew Tabackin (flutist, tenor saxophonist) was born in Philadelphia where he studied flute and tenor saxophone in high school. He majored in flute at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and studied privately with composer Vincent Persichetti. After his US Army service (1962-5), Mr. Tabackin gravitated to New York where he played with Tal Farlow and Don Friedman and later in the big bands led by Cab Calloway, Les and Larry Elgart, Maynard Ferguson, Joe Henderson, Chuck Israels, Buddy Morrow, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Clark Terry, and Duke Pearson. In the late 1960s, Tabackin led a trio at Philadelphia's La Boheme club in addition to playing in smaller groups with Donald Byrd, Roland Hanna, Elvin Jones, and Attila Zoller. He worked with Doc Severinsen and the studio band for Dick Cavett's television show and spent time in Europe, where he was a soloist with various orchestras, including the Danish Radio Orchestra, and the Hamburg Jazz Workshop. In 1968 Mr. Tabackin met pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi. They 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 toured Japan frequently with Akiyoshi and her orchestra as well as with his own trio, which included drummer Joey Baron and bassist Michael Moore. In 1982 the couple moved to New York. Mr. Tabackin's recordings include Desert Lady (Concord, 1990) featuring Hank Jones, Dave Holland, and Victor Lewis; I'll Be Seeing You (1991) and What A Little Moonlight Can Do (1994), both with Benny Green, Peter Washington, and Lewis Nash and the solo Tenority (1996). Tabackin has also performed with George Wein's Newport All-Star Band, the New York Jazz Giants, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. Lew Tabackin has appeared several times at the Kennedy Center with Toshiko Akiyoshi.

April 2004
Lew Tabackin