~LIFE AT THE CORE~
Complete Text of Reviews




CADENCE Magazine

Review by Andy Bartlett

RICHARD TABNIK Quartet
LIFE AT THE CORE
NEW ARTISTS NA1016CD

[please note: The reviewer chose to review and compare 4 recordings each featuring a different saxophonist. In the interest of accuracy and clarity, all four are named; however, the text referring to them has been omitted...]

(1) CONTEMPO TRIO w/RAVI COLTRANE
NO JAMF*S ALLOWED
JAZZLINE JL 1137

(2) OLIVER LAKE
EDGE-ING
BLACK SAINT 120104

(3) KENNY REED
INTRODUCING
JAZZ KARMA JKR-911

(4) RICHARD TABNIK
LIFE AT THE CORE
NEW ARTISTS NA1016

Reach/Linearity/Soliloquy/You Know (tk 1)/You Know (tk 2)/Timescapes (tk 1)/Timescapes (tk 2)/Dearest/Life at the Core
63:11
Tabnik, as.; Andy Fite, g.; Calvin Hill, b; Roger Mancuso, d.
11/13/92 New York City

The gem of these four is (4). Altoist Richard Tabnik appears on a couple other New Artists' releases, with this being his first quartet date with guitarist Andy Fite. With a feathery tone that never quite sounds the altos are expected to, Tabnik plays delightfully off Fite's spare, stark strums and the irresistible shove of Roger Mancuso and Calvin Hill's rhythms. This drives Tabnik to construct quick, downsliding and upgliding lines that are splendidly brief. He is equally adept at churning quick bursts over and over before handing the solo space to Fite for his own rolling convolutions strung together over single note stretches and cold minimal plinks.

This is comparable roughly to Erik Pakula's latest effort on CJR, except Pakula's quartet yearns to fracture melodies and harmonies while Tabnik wants to continue asserting them over and over, with growing force and increasing rhythmic push (especially Reach). The post-Tristano continuum sounds so fresh here that (4) is unequivocally recommended. [--Andy Bartlett, CADENCE Magazine, April 1995, page 95]



Please e-mail questions, comments, etc. to: (rctabnik@inch.com)
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A wonderful review appears on Jason DuMars' International Saxophone Home Page, at:
http://www.saxophone.org/rt.html

Check it out!



L.A. JAZZ SCENE
Review by Scott Yanow

RICHARD TABNIK Quartet
LIFE at the CORE
NEW ARTISTS NA1016CD

The legacy of Lennie Tristano lives on in musicians who he probably never met. The late pianist-teacher believed strongly in chordal improvisation with long lines and odd accents from the soloists, quiet rhythm sections restricted to timekeeping and the use of common chord changes that were disguised by the substitution of new melodies and song titles. Altoist Lee Konitz and tenor-saxophonist Warne Marsh were his finest students.

Altoist Richard Tabnik, whose unusual tone and intonation will take some getting used to, does not sound like Konitz but follows some of the same principles taught by Tristano. Guitarist Andy Fite's offers a fine second voice while bassist Calvin Hill and drummer Roger Mancuso fulfill their roles as timekeepers. All seven songs on this CD are "originals" that are usually based on earlier standards; for example, "Reach" is really "All of Me", "Soliloquy" is a spacey "Body and Soul", "Timescapes" has similarities to "I'll Remember April", "Dearest" is "These Foolish Things", etc.

This is stimulating music that is worth the struggle to meet halfway. But why no liner notes? [--Scott Yanow, L.A. JAZZ SCENE, November 1996]




JAZZTIMES
Review by David Franklin

RICHARD TABNIK Quartet
LIFE at the CORE
NEW ARTISTS NA1016CD (63:11)

The first impression is of an idiosyncratic modern altoist whose early model might have been Lee Konitz. But upon closer listening, it seems that the late tenorist Warne Marsh could have been an inspiration as well, especially in the way Tabnik's lines snake around the beat, catching up with it here and there and even obscuring it on occasion. Guitarist Andy Fite, bassist Calvin Hill, and drummer Roger Mancuso do keep the metric underpinnings secure, however. If the shrill edge to his tone is not too off-putting, the altoist's adventurous improvisations might hold the attentive listener's interest in a way that much of the contemporary rehashing of yesterday's licks cannot. [--David Franklin, JAZZTIMES, March, 1997]



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