Tabnik is a lyrically inclined altoist, affected greatly by the method and music of the late pianist/composer/educator Lennie Tristano. He played his first jazz gigs in the Providence, RI, band of guitarist Tom Brown. From 1970-1972, Tabnik studied with Tristano's chief acolyte, Lee Konitz. He played lead alto in Frank Foster's big band at the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1975-1979. During that time, he also played in the federally funded big band of Allen Tinney. From 1979 to 1983, he studied under the eminent saxophone teacher Joe Allard; concurrently, he began to study with pianist Connie Crothers, who would become his greatest influence. With Crothers, Tabnik recorded Duo Dimension in 1987. In the early '90s, Tabnik recorded several times, both as a solo saxophonist and in bands that included drummer Carol Tristano, Lennie's daughter. Other Tabnik associates have included bassists Calvin Hill and Cameron Brown, guitarist Andy Fite, and tenor saxophonist Lenny Popkin.
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