Lew Tabackin Trio: Soundscapes

Dan Bilawsky By

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There's no substitute for experiencing jazz live. There are, however, some recordings that manage to do a damn good job coming close. This happens to be one of them.

Noted jazz photographer Jimmy Katz, who's quickly developed a strong reputation as a recording engineer and producer who seeks to capture jazz in its true and unaltered forms, was the impetus behind the creation of this album. He sold saxophonist-flutist Lew Tabackin on the idea, set up a makeshift recording environment in Steve Maxwell's Vintage and Custom Drum Shop in Manhattan, and created a scenario where this trio could simply do its thing without the stress that comes with the studio. It all came off beautifully in the end, leading to this excellent addition to Tabackin's discography.

It's often easy to overlook Tabackin because he doesn't churn out an album a year to stay in the jazz public eye. But it's impossible to forget him when you hear music like this. There's much to commend and respect here, beyond the obvious technical matters, and it all starts with the song setups. Note how Tabackin uses Charlie Parker-influenced abstraction as a greeting on Duke Ellington's "Sunset And The Mockingbird," observe how the trio bookends "Yesterdays" with rubato allure, and check out the Sonny Rollins-esque solo introduction on "Afternoon In Paris." If those things aren't enough to impress you, the thought and humanity in the music should do the trick. It's hard not to take notice of the manner in which Tabackin balances tenderness and masculinity during Billy Strayhorn's "Day Dream," or how he walks a mystical and uniquely introspective path on "Garden At Life Time." These are the things that separate the good from the great, and Tabackin has been a member of the latter category for longer than most can recall.

Bassist Boris Kozlov, drummer Mark Taylor, and Tabackin have been at it for quite a while together. They breathe as one, swing like mad, explore the borders of uncertainty, and exhibit a high level of trust that can only come from shared experiences. Their chemistry is apparent at every turn—when volleying the ball back and forth, playing with a loose-tight duality, keeping things cool, or kicking things into overdrive—and they always seem to be right at home. The art of the trio is alive and well in the hands of these three men.

Track Listing

Afternoon In Paris; Garden At Life Time; Bb, Where It's At; Minoru; Yesterdays; Day Drream; Sunset And The Mockingbird; Three Little Words.


Lew Tabackin: tenor saxophone, flute; Boris Kozlov: bass; Mark Taylor: drums.

Additional information

Title: Soundscapes | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced


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