To many Canadians, tenor saxophonist John Tank has been somewhat of a legendary figure in the world of live Jazz performance for the past fifty years.
His unique voice has evolved out of a modern Jazz experience strongly rooted in tradition. His playing has been described as “creative, smooth, strong, rhythmic, harmonic and melodic.”
Between 1961 and 1963 Tank travelled one hundred and forty miles weekly to study with the late
concert saxophonist Paul Brodie, founder of the World Saxophone Congress and to date the most recorded concert saxophonist in history. From 1964 to 1969 he attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Besides majoring in composition and arranging, the Berklee experience provided him with the opportunity to study Jazz improvisation both in the class room and especially at after hours jam sessions around town. Being in the company of so many players who also loved the music was one of his most inspiring experiences during those years.
In 1970, Tank moved to Toronto and performed as a leader and sideman with many fine Canadian jazz greats such as Bernie Senensky, Don Thompson, Terry Clarke, Sonny Greenwich, Lenny Breau, Michel Donato, Claude Ranger and Freddie Stone.
In 1974 Tank moved to New York and worked as a sideman in groups led by Sam Rivers, Paul Jeffery, George Coleman, Joe Morello, John Blair, Jack Walrath, Calvin Hill, Joe Lee Wilson, Monty Waters and others. He played with the great Charles Mingus on two recordings: “Me, Myself, and Eye” and “Something Like A Bird.”
During the late 1970s and through the mid-1990s, he performed in England, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and Spain. Live recordings were made for the BBC Radio, Canada House, the French National Radio and Dutch television in the Netherlands.
Tank has organized several tours of Ontario and Quebec over the decades and recorded for CBC Radio Canada’s “Jazz Beat” in 2000. Between 2004 and 2007 he played and toured in and around New Mexico, performing with local players in Tucson, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and El Paso. Some of Tank’s stylistic influences include, Lester Young, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon, and Warne Marsh. Other major influences are Igor Stravinsky, Bella Bartok, Charles Ives and Krzysztof Pendereki.
To many jazz music afficionados and music lovers in Kitchener Waterloo John Tank is a musical legend.
It is always my great pleasure to have him come to chat with me on the radio. In this wide ranging chat, John speaks about the actual technique of “circular breathing” which he teaches in his student workshops. He also speaks about his latest performances both in The States, and in Mexico. John also played some of his favorite jazz selections as well from bassist Ron Carter, and tenor saxophonists Joe Henderson (who John played with in Toronto!) as well as Sonny Rollins.
It’s great when John’s in town cuz things are always cookin, and I am very proud to call him my longtime pal. These are a series of interviews I conducted for John’s shows at The Jazz Room and The Registry Theatre. Thanks to The Registry Theatre’s Lawrence McNaught and John’s great fan and good pal Terry Pender, John always has a great place to play when he comes home. And it cooks everytime! Watch for him coming back to the The Jazz Room in December 2014.
Here is a series of interviews conducted at the Sound FM studios recorded in the spring of 2012 and winter of 2013.
The first four segments are from Jan 2013. And the last two segments are taken from 2012 including a live performance in the Sound FM Studios.
John also performs live in the Sound FM studios. John speaks about the evolution of the jazz scene in Waterloo Region, The Jazz Room and latest CD – John Tank Live at The Registry Theatre taken from a fabulous live concert recorded live at Kitchener’s The Registry Theatre in April of 2010.
He also plays some of personal favorites as well. It’s always great talking with John. I learn so much, from Jazz, to his culinary skills.
My good pal from NYC is also a great cook! Hence our interview Series “Cooking with Tank”
For more on John go to www.johntank.com