Lew Tabackin

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Lew Tabackin
Lew Tabackin playing tenor saxophone at the Artists' Quarter jazz club on November 16, 2013.jpg
Background information
Birth name Lewis Barry Tabackin
Born (1940-03-26) March 26, 1940 (age 78)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Tenor saxophone, flute
Years active 1962–present
Labels RCA Victor/BMG, Discomate, Inner City
Associated acts Toshiko Akiyoshi – Lew Tabackin Big Band, Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra
Website www.lewtabackin.com

Lewis Barry Tabackin (born March 26, 1940) is a jazz flutist and tenor saxophonist. He is married to pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi, with whom he has co-led large ensembles since the 1970s.

Critic Scott Yannow describes Tabackin as "one of the few jazz musicians who has been able to develop completely different musical personalities on two instruments", with his forceful hard bop style on sax contrasting with his delicate flute playing.[1]


Lew Tabackin at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay CA 6/3/84. Quartet with Shelly Manne, Monty Budwig & Frank Collette.

Tabackin first took up the flute at the age of 12, followed by the tenor saxophone at age 15.[2] He has citied Al Cohn[2][3] and Coleman Hawkins[2] as influences on his sax playing, while his flute role models include classical players such as William Kincaid, Julius Baker, and Jean-Pierre Rampal.[2] Tabackin studied flute at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and also studied music with composer Vincent Persichetti. In 1962 he graduated from the Conservatory and, after a stint with the U.S. Army, worked with Tal Farlow. He also worked with Chuck Israels in New York City,[2] and a combo that included Elvin Jones, Donald Byrd, and Roland Hanna. Later he would have a chair in The Dick Cavett Show's band and The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen.[4] Tabackin moved from New York to California when The Tonight Show relocated in 1972.[3] During this time he played with Shelly Manne and Billy Higgins, among others.[3]

Tabackin met Toshiko Akiyoshi in 1967 while he was playing in Clark Terry's band and she was invited to sit in for Don Friedman.[3] They formed a quartet in the late 1960s, married in 1969,[5] and in 1973 co-founded the Toshiko Akiyoshi – Lew Tabackin Big Band in Los Angeles,[3] which later became the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin, playing bebop in Duke Ellington-influenced arrangements and compositions by Akiyoshi.[6] Tabackin was principal soloist for the big band/orchestra from 1973 through 2003.

Lew Tabackin was interviewed by Linus Wyrsch on "The Jazz Hole" for breakthruradio.com in July 2011 - Lew Tabackin Interview by breakthruradio.com

Jazz Foundation of America[edit]

Tabackin has become a great supporter of the Jazz Foundation of America in their mission to save the homes and the lives of America's elderly jazz and blues musicians including musicians that survived Hurricane Katrina. He sits on the Advisory Committee of the Foundation since 2002.[7]


Awards and honors[edit]

Grammy award nominations:[13]

Stereo Review magazine (US):[citation needed]

Swing Journal (Japanese jazz magazine) awards:[14]


  1. ^ Yannow, Scott. Lew Tabackin: Biography, Allmusic.com, accessed Sep 29, 2017
  2. ^ a b c d e Joffe, Edward. "An Interview with Lew Tabackin." Joffe Woodwinds, Nov. 2006. Web. 11 Aug. 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e Jung, Fred. "A Fireside Chat With Lew Tabackin." All About Jazz, 4 Apr. 2003. Web. 11 Aug. 2014.
  4. ^ Feather, Leonard, and Ira Gitler. The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies. New York: Horizon, 1976. Print.
  5. ^ Freedman, Samuel G. "A Jewish-Asian Couple's Union Leads to a Scholarly Interest in Intermarriage." New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast). Jun 16 2012. ProQuest. Web. 13 Aug. 2014.
  6. ^ Down Beat Artist Profile
  7. ^ archive.org. 2009-02-11. URL: https://archive.org/details/JonHammondJazzAngelspt.2-JFA_sWendyOxenhornonHammondCastKYOURADIO. (Archived by blogspot.com at https://archive.org/details/JonHammondJazzAngelspt.2-JFA_sWendyOxenhornonHammondCastKYOURADIO)
  8. ^ Dryden, Ken, "Lew Tabackin: Jazz na Hradě (2010)," allaboutjazz.com. Accessed 2011 September 26.
  9. ^ Mosaic Records, Mosaic Select Vol. 33 Archived 2008-10-06 at the Wayback Machine.. Accessed 2008 September 19.
  10. ^ VIEW DVD Listing
  11. ^ Down Beat magazine critic's poll winners database Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.. Accessed 2007 October 4
  12. ^ Down Beat magazine Readers Poll winners database "archives" Archived 2009-10-01 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 2010 March.
  13. ^ LA Times (Grammy) Awards database. Accessed 2007 October 4
  14. ^ Swing Journal (Japanese Jazz magazine) Gold / Silver Disk Award winners (Japanese link). Accessed 2007 October 4

External links[edit]