Amongst jazz composers and avant-garde band leaders, drummer and area resident Tani Tabbal is a first-call sideman. He has worked extensively with Chicago legend Roscoe Mitchell and occupied the drum chair in the restless, experimental jazz legend David Murray’s big band. He has navigated the impossible time signatures favored by Steve Coleman and has backed the Grammy-winning Cassandra Wilson.
Like so many of the legends with whom he has worked, Tabbal’s recordings as leader/composer challenge the stubborn notion that experimental jazz is inaccessible and often unmusical. The truth is that much of the most playful, compositional and populist jazz around today comes from camps far out on the fringe from Lincoln Center.
Tabbal’s most recent recording of originals, 2015’s Mixed Motion, is a crisp and lucid session featuring Tabbal’s witty heads and spacious ensemble improvisation from his quartet. Most of it swings hard. Only the long “Thin Mid Fat Mid Thin” explores true free-form, experimental color-painting, and it is really cool. Mixed Motion features two saxophonists: Kingston native Ben Newsome on tenor and Adam Siegel on alto. Siegel is a fixture in Tabbal’s current trio, which also includes bassist Michael Bisio.
Mere weeks after a show at Quinn’s in Beacon that the locals are still raving about, the Tani Tabbal Trio heads up to the Bearsville Theater to celebrate the release of Mixed Motion formally on Sunday, May 17 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at the door or at www.bearsvilletheater.com. The Bearsville Theater is located at 291 Tinker Street in Woodstock.
Tani Tabbal Trio, Mixed Motion CD release show, Sunday, May 17, 7 p.m., $15, Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker Street, Woodstock; www.bearsvilletheater.com.