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Tani Tabbal Trio

A dynamic free jazz and avant-garde drummer, Tani Tabbal is known for his work with Roscoe Mitchell and as a co-founder of the Afrofuturist quintet Griot Galaxy. Tabbal first emerged playing with Oscar Brown, Jr. and Sun Ra before distinguishing himself as a member of Mitchell's Sound Ensemble in the early '80s. Along with vibrant sessions alongside David Murray, Cassandra Wilson, and James Carter, he has released his own engaging albums as leader, including 2007's Before Time After, 2016's Triptych, and 2020's Now Then. Born in 1954 in Chicago, Tabbal began playing drums professionally while still in his teens, working with vocalist Oscar Brown, Jr. and trumpeter Kelan Phil Cohran, as well as Sun Ra & His Arkestra. He eventually settled in Detroit in the late '70s, where he found a home alongside artists like Barry Harris, Marcus Belgrave, and others. Tabbal expanded his approach during these years working in a variety of idioms, from straight-ahead jazz and fusion to free jazz and funk. Along with saxophonist Faruq Z. Bey, he co-founded the adventurous, free-leaning Afrofuturist quintet Grio Galaxy, releasing 1981's Kins. At the same time, he joined saxophonist and longtime Art Ensemble of Chicago member Roscoe Mitchell's group Sound Ensemble. With Mitchell he toured and recorded, appearing on albums like 1984's Roscoe Mitchell and the Sound and Space Ensembles, 1992's This Dance Is for Steve McCall, and 2003's Bad Guys. There were also vibrant dates with pianist Geri Allen, saxophonist James Carter, guitarist A. Spencer Barefield, saxophonist David Murray, vocalist Cassandra Wilson, and many more. As a leader, Tabbal debuted with 2007's Before Time After and returned in 2014 with Wizards. In between, he continued his association with Mitchell, recording several albums with the saxophonist and appearing with him on British saxophonist Evan Parker's 2008 album Boustrophedon. It was also during this period that he relocated to New York State. In 2016, he returned to his own work with Mixed Motion, featuring a group with saxophonists Ben Newsome and Adam Siegel, as well as bassist Lew Scott. Also that year, Tabbal debuted his trio with Siegel and bassist Michael Bisio on Triptych. More trio albums followed with Opposite Edge arriving in 2019 and Now Then in 2020.
© Matt Collar /TiVo


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