Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Tabnik, Richard (Charles)
Tabnik, Richard (Charles), alto saxophone, composer, teacher; b. Manhattan, NY, 6, April 1952. His family moved to Great Neck, NY in 1953. He lived there until he was 19 years old. His father, Lewis J. Tabnik, was born 1/20/17 in NY, NY and died 6/20/97 on Long Island. His mother Sara (Siegel) Tabnik, was born 6/11/20 in NY, NY and still lives on Long Island. His brother, Martin Ely Tabnik, was born 10/21/46, in NY, NY and lives on Long Island.
Richard's first experience of really being electrified by jazz improvising was when, in his 2nd grade public school classroom, two art students presented their original movie. The visual was simply abstract colors with a black shape going through it; the sound track, however, was LennieTristano's 'Line Up.' He first learned alto saxophone in the fifth grade of public school from Dr. Howard Cleave, who also ran the school concert band and marching band, where Richard did some of his first improvising, being inspired by trumpeter Neil Rosengarden (son of drummer Bobby Rosengarden). In the seventh grade, the music teacher, Dr. Wallace Chang, taught ukelele, which led to him learning chords on the piano by writing the chordal notes on the keys. He formed his first band and began to teach himself guitar, bass guitar, drums, and had a working band at the age of 15. Originally a rock keyboardist and saxophonist in a time and place where bands were ubiquitous and music was important, the break-up of the Beatles, and dissatisfaction with improvised rock solos led him into blues, and ultimately, jazz. He played baritone saxophone in his senior year in high school, improvising more than reading.
Richard had friends studying with Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz, and Billy Bauer and began his studies with Mr. Konitz from 6/70 to 1/72. He also studied piano and jazz theory with Hall Overton from 9/70 to 12/70 and studied ARP Synthesizer at The New School for Social Research from 9/70 to 6/71. Other influences included the jazz DJ 'Symphony' Sid Torin being on the radio and playing tracks like 'Line Up,' as well as Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, et. al. In early January 1972, he moved to Providence, RI, where he played with, among others, guitarist Tom Brown, who gave Roy Haynes his first gig in Boston. In September, 1972, he moved to Boston, MA and went to the Berklee College of Music for one semester. He then performed in and wrote and arranged for bands in Harrisburg, PA; Houston, TX; Atlanta, GA; finally moving to Buffalo, NY early in 1975. There his private studies included John Sedola (saxophone, flute, clarinet; taught Don Menza, Bobby Militello...9/75 to 6/78), Dr. Ray Ricker (jazz theory, jazz pedagogy; author and teacher at Eastman...9/75 to 6/77 ), Russell Messina (music theory (4-part harmony), jazz theory,...1/76 to 6/78), Dr. Robert Mols (flute, professor at SUNYAB...8/77 to 8/78), Ms. Alice Rozan (voice...1/78 to 6/78), James Pyne (clarinet; Buffalo Philharmonic...9/77 to 6/78), Dr. Michael Nascimben (saxophone; formerly with SUNYAB, Amherst Saxophone Quartet...9/78 to 8/79), and Robert Dick (flute, extended techniques...8/78 to 8/79). He also did independent study at Empire State College (SUNY) from 7/75 to 6/77. He studied saxophone and clarinet with Joe Allard (professor of saxophone and clarinet at the New England Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, and Julliard; performance. w/ NBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Toscanini) from September 1979 to June 1981. He studied flute with Harold Bennett, (professor of flute at MSM and Julliard; performance w/ the Metropolitan Opera) from January 1980 to June 1981.
Richard Tabnik has been living in New York City since 1979. Between 1975-79, Richard Tabnik lived in Buffalo, N.Y. He appeared on radio, television, and in concert with his own groups.
He studied with Connie Crothers from January 1980 to June 2000. He was presented in concert in her studio soon after that in duos with Peter Scattaretico on drums and Ms. Crothers on piano.
While he lived in Buffalo, N.Y., he appeared on local radio, television, and in various gigs and concerts with his own groups as well as in the groups of other leaders such as bassist/guitarist/composer Gerry Eastman and the Big Band of Elvin Sheppard, who was the main teacher of Grover Washington, Jr. Richard played alto saxophone in Frank Foster's Big Band at the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNYAB) for one year, and became a featured soloist at the historic Colored Musicians Club in big bands, small groups and jam sessions.
In addition to having his own bands, the apex of his time in Buffalo was 2-1/2 years with the Federally-funded (CETA) Buffalo Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of jazz pianist Allen Tinney, with whom Charlie Parker and Max Roach played early in their careers at Monroe's Uptown House in Harlem. He also taught Jazz Improvising at the State University of NY at Buffalo from 9/76 to 6/77.
After moving to New York in 1979, he also went to the CUNY-802 Program (9/80 to 6/81), and was accepted at the Manhattan School of Music (6/81) but declined enrolling, since he was now studying jazz improvising with Connie Crothers. January, 1980, Richard heard Connie Crothers at her historic gig at The Village Vanguard in NYC with Warne Marsh, Eddie Gomez, and Peter Scattaretico and soon after began an almost unbroken 20 year studying jazz improvising.
During the early 1980's, he appeared with his own jazz trio with Mr. Scattaretico on drums and Harvie Swartz on bass and his own quartet featuring pianist Billy Lester and bassist Calvin Hill at Eric in NYC and at the Fall Music Series at Mercy College with bassist Frank Canino. Mr. Tabnik was also a featured soloist with the Brooklyn College Big Band under the direction of Pete Yellin and with the Gerry Eastman Contemporary Composer's Orchestra at Soundscape in NYC. He performed for a month in a jazz duo at the CBS-owned American Charcuterie (W.52nd St.) with jazz pianist George Ziskind, one of Tristano's earliest students in Chicago. Richard was a founding member of the JazzWind Trio, with Fran Canisius on flute and Bill Payne on clarinet. He was featured in a quartet at the Yonkers Summer Jazz Series with Bob Arthurs on trumpet, Earl Sauls on bass, and Peter Scattaretico on drums. He also studied jazz piano with Liz Gorrill (1/88-6/88) and with Ms. Crothers (1990-92).
He and Ms. Crothers have performed in duo and in quartet. They appeared with Carol Tristano on drums and Calvin Hill on bass at Greenwich House in NYC on April 6, 1989. Mr. Tabnik appeared with Ms. Tristano and Mr. Hill at Greenwich House on January 11, 1990 and in duo with Ms. Crothers later that year. He appeared as a solo artist in concert at Greenwich House on February 9, 1991. In 1995, he played in the quartet of Harvey Diamond, piano, Michael Gold, bass, and Michael Brorby, drums in Boston.
Richard is currently in a quartet with Connie Crothers, Roger Mancuso, and various bassists including Sean Smith, Ed Broderick, Hill Green, et. al. In 1994, they played at Trumpets, Montclair, NJ. In 1995/6, they performed at La Belle Epocque, NYC and was cited in the Village Voice's "Voice Choice" section. They appeared at Cleopatra's Needle in NYC in 1997 and 1998. The Richard Tabnik Trio appeared at the Internet Cafe, NYC and Greenwich Cafe, NYC in 1998, where he started "Jazz at High Noon." In 2000, the Richard Tabnik Trio played at El Lobo Negro Art Gallery, Asbury Park, NJ, Birdland, NYC (with McCutcheon, d., Broderick, bass), Internet Cafe, NYC, and Red Bank NJ where they web cast their gig. CCQt appeared at Birdland and Roulette and began playing with the innovative bassist, Ratzo Harris. In 2001, they performed at the Outpost, in Albuquerque, NM with poet Mark Weber; and the JVC Jazz Festival in NYC. In 2002, CCQt performed in Estonia and Sweden, with Ulf Ackerheilm on bass and Andy Fite on guitar; also, another performance with poet Mark Weber at Lotus Music and Dance (Cooler in the Shade) in NYC. They appeared at the Pres Tribute at St. Peter's Church, NYC. The quartet will perform with singer Harry Schulz at Harrison Faust Pianos in NYC, at Smalls, and again with Mark Weber in Albuquerque.
Richard Tabnik teaches jazz improvising.
Connie Crothers and Richard Tabnik: Duo Dimension (1987); Solo Journey (1990); In The Moment (1992); Life At The Core (1992); Connie Crothers: Ontology (1999)
Unissued recordings and films/videos:
Trio with Mancuso and either, Sean Smith, Todd Coolman, Chris Laugh 1998; Crothers Qt., w/ Weber, Tabnik, Mancuso, Harris, Lotus Music and Dance, NYC 2002;
Connie Crothers Qt., w/R.T., Roger Mancuso, Ratzo Harris., Roulette, NYC 2000; Connie Crothers Qt., w/ Harry Schulz, vcl, Birdland, NYC, 2000;
Connie Crothers Qt., with Andy Fite, g., Tabnik, Mancuso, Ulf Ackerhielm, Club Fasching, Stockholm, 2002; video of loft concert 2002 w/ Jimmy Halperin, ts; Andy Fite, g.; Ratzo Harris, b.;
John McCutcheon, d; recording of CCQt w/ Mark Weber in Albuquerque, NM, 2001; recording of trio w/ Roger Mancuso and different bassists, 1998;
recording of various groups with drummer John McCutcheon including Connie Crothers, bassists Ed Broderick, Sonny Dallas, Adam Lane, Jeremy Stratton, saxophonist Jimmy Halperin, Bob Field, Anton Linder, trumpeter Dave Brahinsky, guitarists Andy Fite, Bud Tristano, et. al. (1997-ongoing); with (bassist) Jushi Z-Sound Collect, video, cable tv (2002);
video of lecture/demo/concert at the Black Box in Asbury Park w/Roger Mancuso, d.; Ratzo Harris, b 2001; early 1980's; the JazzWind Trio+; R.T., a.s.; Fran Canisius, fl.; Bill Payne, cl.
Radio and television broadcasts:
6/76-9/79 various appearances with Buffalo Jazz Ensemble; He also wrote and co-produced 3 radio presentations: 9/21/78 Jazz Overview, The Blues, WBFO-FM (NPR affiliate), -9/28/78 Jazz Overview, Standards, WBFO-FM, 11/78 Lennie Tristano Memorial Broadcast, WBFO-FM; "ascent into the maelstrom,", KUNM-FM, 10/95, Alb., NM; interviewed by author and poet Mark Weber 3/22/01 on Albuquerque, N.M. radio station KUNM-FM, on the web as a prelude to: March 26, 2001; The Connie Crothers / Richard Tabnik Quartet (w/Connie Crothers, Piano, Richard Tabnik, alto sax, Roger Mancuso, drums, Ratzo B. Harris, bass, Mark Weber, poet) concert at Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque, NM; interview on WKCR-FM (NYC) prior to CCQt at JVC-NYC Jazz Festival (2001)
Magazine articles: EYE Magazine, Oct/Nov 1998, 'Experimental Jazz', Bill White (Greensboro, NC)
Tim Price, Saxophone Journal (Nov./Dec. 1993)
David Dupont, Cadence Magazine (February, 1993)
Cadence Magazine, August 2002, Interview with Vittorio LoConte, (Redwood, NY)
CD Review: Richard Tabnik, Life at the Core at <http://www.saxophone.org/rt.html>
Interviews and reviews at: <http://www.allaboutjazz.com/>
Richard has also contributed articles about Lennie Tristano to <http://www.lennietristano.com>.
Articles on his web site include: Using the Net, A Poem for Louis Armstrong, Solo Jazz Saxophone, The New Payola, Tristano Myths Refuted, Zen and Jazz, Konitz On Cool,
Free Jazz, re: Bird: The Movie, Tristano and Bach