“What’s traditional in jazz is the point of change,” declares the website of the elite jazz drummer and Ulster County resident Tani Tabbal. Hinging on the multiple meanings of the word “point,” it is a statement possessed of the same disorienting ambiguity as so much of the music on which Tabbal has played. This storied young veteran of the avant-garde was performing with the Sun Ra Arkestra at the age of 14. Since then, his discography is a veritable Who’s Who of “point of change” artists in the jazz sphere. He has worked most steadily with Roscoe Mitchell, a Chicago reedman and a leading light of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) scene, a breeding ground for modern jazz notables. Tabbal has recorded and performed with David Murray, James Carter, Steve Coleman, Grammy-winner Cassandra Wilson and many more.
It makes sense that Tabbal lives in Ulster County and has also worked with Karl Berger, the legendary composer and vibraphonist who was also a co-founder (along with Ingrid Sertso and Ornette Coleman) of the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, a progressive jazz studies center very much in the spirit of AACM and arguably the birthplace of “world jazz.” It was place where people went to reexamine traditions and the point of change.
In recent years, however, Beacon has established itself as the seat of experimental art in the mid-Hudson Valley, beginning with visual arts, of course, and now blossoming richly into the domains of music and performance. And that skronk that you hear is probably coming from Quinn’s, the unassuming former luncheonette on Main Street that, due purely to management’s appetite for the outré, the challenging and the advanced, has become a regular stop for avant-garde royalty from the City and elsewhere.
Scenes and venues are always ephemeral and endangered – even more for the experimental and progressive. So get it while the getting’s good. The Tani Tabbal Trio, with alto saxophonist Adam Siegal and bassist Michael Bisio, performs at Quinn’s on Monday, April 27 at 8 p.m. Donations are encouraged. Quinn’s is located at 330 Main Street in Beacon. For more information, call (845) 202-7447 or visit Quinn’s on Facebook.