Lew Tabackin flutist and tenor saxophonist, 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 fervor, 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, Lew Tabackin has absorbed elements into his style, ultimately creating his own sound and aura.
His interest in music began in his birthplace, Philadelphia, where he first studied flute and then tenor saxophone in high school. He majored in flute at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music (B.M. 1962) and studied privately with composer Vincent Persichetti. After his U.S. Army service (1962-65), Mr. Tabackin moved to New Jersey and then to New York, where he played first 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, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Clark Terry, and Duke Pearson.
During the late 1960's, Tabackin 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.