Flushing Town Hall Presents "The Swinging Sounds of Coleman Hawkins" Featuring Lew Tabackin and His Ensemble

Article Contributed by Anat | Published on Monday, October 3, 2022

On Friday, October 14th, Flushing Town Hall will present “The Swinging Sounds of Coleman Hawkins” featuring Lew Tabackin and his ensemble.

Saxophonist Lew Tabackin is one of New York City’s most notable jazz musicians, whose importance was acknowledged this summer when he was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Jazz Foundation of America.

On October 14th, Tabackin will pay tribute to the great Coleman Hawkins (1904 – 1969) live at the historic Flushing Town Hall theater, featuring an array of music that Hawkins himself played during his tenure with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, recordings with Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt, and many others.

Tabackin will be supported by pianist Jeb Patton, Gerald Cammon on bass, and Jason Tiemann on drums. In addition, a special guest trumpet player will perform some of the groundbreaking music that Coleman Hawkins made popular in the international jazz world.

Tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins was the first major saxophonist in jazz history. His inventive style of improvising influenced many leading jazz figures such as Ben Webster, Chu Berry, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane.  Hawkins was also one of the first saxophonists to bring attention to the saxophone as a solo instrument in 1939 when he played it on the song “Body and Soul.”

Tabackin’s 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.

Tabackin later moved to New York, where he shared the stage with numerous other jazz luminaries such as Cab Calloway, Maynard Ferguson, Joe Henderson, Chuck Israels, Clark Terry, and Duke Pearson. He also spent some time in Europe as a soloist with various ensembles, including the Danish Radio Orchestra and the Hamburg Jazz Workshop.

In 1968, he met NEA Jazz Master (2007) Toshiko Akiyoshi, who has performed at Flushing Town Hall, when the two played together in a quartet. They eventually 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, Tabackin also played with Shelly Manne and various trios of his own—including with Billy Higgins, John Heard, and Charlie Haden. He also toured Japan frequently with Ms. Akiyoshi and her orchestra as well as with his own trio, which included drummer Joey Baron and bassist Michael Moore.

In 1982, Tabackin and his wife returned to New York, which brought him back to the Manhattan jazz scene. He solidified his position as a major tenor saxophone and flute artist, both in live concerts and on recordings, and began to get some long overdue recognition as a flutist, winning many DownBeat Critics and Readers Polls. In 1992, Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin won a GRAMMY Award for "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance.”

The concert on October 14th begins at 8:00 PM. For those unable to attend in person, the performance will also be live streamed online on YouTube for $10. Tickets are $40/$32 members/$20 students w/ID. Table packages for 2, w/ refreshments are available for $130/$110 members. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/the-swinging-sounds-of-coleman-hawkins