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Band Hip Hop R&B


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The best kept secret in music


"Hip-hop takes a jump forward"

Hip-hop takes a jump forward
with innovative Tabakin
July 2, 2004
For a decade, Noah Tabakin was
part of the Milwaukee fusion
band Little Blue Crunchy
Things, a group he joined when
he was 16 and traveled with
across the nation, honing his
skills on the mike and the saxophone.
“When I came up off that trip, I
was 26 years old. It was 10
years later. I decided to relocate
outside of Wisconsin,” he says.
He came to Chicago, a city he
says he chose because it has
everything a musician needs—
a live scene, lots of artists and
affordable rent. “So I came to Chicago and started to rebuild things.”
What Tabakin has built is his “dream project,” an experimental hip-hop band that carries his name
and pushes organic hip-hop to a place that is so far from two turntables and a mike that it almost
seems to be something other than hip-hop.
“The root is hip-hop. I don’t know what you'll call our music. Maybe it’s hip-hop plus. It’s not just
two turntables and a mike, but the root of it is definitely hip-hop,” he says.
The sound of Tabakin, the band—Nathan Greer on drums, Dan Fraga on bass, Joey Bohlmann on
guitar and Tabakin on vocals and sax—doesn’t seek to recreate the sound of groups like the Roots.
“We are trying to be as stripped as possible,” Tabakin says. “Plenty of songs have two-note bass
lines. We try to keep it real wide open, with lots of space. It’s real easy for live players to get real
busy and to be afraid of that empty space, but we are trying to be [the] antithesis of that. We want
to let the songs breathe.”
In many ways, Tabakin says, the band operates under jazz rules.
“It's not jazz, but it's coming from the jazz mentality. At any moment, we can just stretch out and
take off. We do a lot of freestyling with the band, but it's not just improvisation over beats. It's
improvised beats with freestyling over it, so it's true freestyle in every respect.”
In this regard, the band is popular with MCs because it often opens up the mike to artists looking to
spit a few bars. But as a hip-hop band that makes music that pushes hip-hop, Tabakin's fan base
often draws from areas outside of the traditional
hip-hop heads.
“The funny thing is we will have cats come up to us and be like, 'You remind me of Sublime,' and
I'll be like, 'Hmm, I don't have any Sublime records.' What I've heard has been decent. But then I
think about it and [Sublime] was coming from the same place we are coming from. They listened to
Rakim and Public Enemy and came up with their music. And we are listening to the same thing.
“It's taking it back to the source. I'm taking it from Rakim and EPMD, and if people are digging our
music but don't know the history, maybe they will be inspired to go check it out. But at the same
time, I'm trying to take it to the next plane, and even if you don't hear it, I am giving respect to
those who inspired me."
David Jakubiak is a local freelance writer.
* 9:30 p.m. Saturday3
* Subterranean, 2011 W. North
* Tickets, $8 (21-over show)
* (773) 278-6600 - Chicago Sun Times

"ChicagoDrop fest..."standout cuts from...Tabakin""

THE CHICAGO DROPFEST Assembled by members of the local outfit Abstract Giants to showcase "live organic hip-hop" in the city, the compilation The Chicago Drop features ten acts that back their MCs with live bands playing a variety of styles: reggae, spirited funk, 70s R & B, laid-back jazz. The album features standout cuts from the sax-fueled combo Tabakin, seven-piece world-fusion combo Bad News Jones, and local quartet Farm Crew. The latter two groups join the Abstract Giants, Treologic, and Star People for this bill, the second of two shows marking the CD release. A copy of the album is free with advance ticket purchase; proceeds go to the American Red Cross and the American Friends Service Committee for tsunami relief.
9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $10, 18+.
--Bob Mehr

- Chicago Reader


Four song Tabakin ep
Full length self titled album
Chicago Drop Compilation


Feeling a bit camera shy


Pure. Raw. Grimy. Fresh. TABAKIN is the experimental hip-hop force conquering Chicago. Founder and frontman "Uncle" Noah Tabakin, and seasoned crew of master musicians "Nasty" Nathan Greer, Joey "Tremolo" Bohlmann and Dan "The Frog" Fraga deliver raw beats, distinctive guitars and brick-hard baritone sax and bass that seize audiences and instantly convert onlookers to devout fans.

Live TABAKIN juxtaposes tight compositions with limitless improvisational freestyle sessions. Unsterilized creative lyrics, engaging stage presence and the band's insatiable passion for music deliver an unforgettable concert experience.

The crew is infecting its local and regional fan base by hosting weekly freestyle open mic nights at Chicago hotspots, touring the Midwest and paving its road to the East Coast.