Lew Tabackin Quartet – What a Little Moonlight Can Do

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“The deep, smooth tenor sax tones of Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins are clearly the models that Lew Tabackin patterns his playing after on this album featuring his quartet. The sax giants’ influence can clearly be seen on “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” on which Tabackin plays above the melody, concluding with Webster’s patented fluttering, whispering tone. Tabackin’s playing throughout this session, irrespective of the tempo, is contemplative, exploring every nook and cranny, every nuance, every subtlety of the tune. He and his quartet travel winding roads of complex and interesting improvisations, always managing to return to the basic melody unscathed. He gives himself plenty of time for each journey, with most of the tunes running more than six minutes in length but never becoming boring or repetitive. Tabackin and his quartet caress “Easy Living,” with Benny Green’s piano getting significant exposure. “I Wished on the Moon,” made famous by Billie Holiday, is done more like a tango than the swinging number it became in the hands of Lady Day. There are two non-standards on the album. Jimmy Knepper’s “Leave of Absinthe,” based on the chord changes to “Lullaby of the Leaves,” is a vehicle for Tabackin’s flute playing, while Tabackin’s “Broken Dreams,” commissioned by his wife, bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi, is a lovely ballad, again with Green’s piano in the vanguard. The rhythm section backing Tabackin is world-class, with Green, Peter Washington on bass, and Lewis Nash on drums. Playing professionally since the 1960s, Tabackin shows that almost 30 years later, he hasn’t lost any of his passion for the music.” – Dave Nathan/AllMusic.

1 What A Little Moonlight Can Do (Harry Woods) – 5:13
2 Easy Living (Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger) – 7:22
3 I Wished On The Moon (Dorothy Parker, Ralph Rainger) – 6:50
4 Love Letters (Edward Heyman, Victor Young) – 5:02
5 Poinciana (Buddy Bernier, Nat Simon) 7:47
6 This Time The Dream’s On Me (Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) – 5:13
7 Broken Dreams (Lew Tabackin) 7:35
8 Leave Of Absinthe (Jimmy Knepper) – 6:04
9 Dig (Miles Davis) – 5:19

Peter Washington – bass
Lewis Nash – drums
Benny Green – piano
Lew Tabackin – tenor saxophone, flute, flute alto, producer


Label: Concord Jazz ‎– CCD-4617
Format: CD, Album
Country: Germany
Released: 1994
Recorded: April 4, 1994 – April 5, 1994
Studio: Penny Lane Studios, New York, NY