Miracle man 

A similar tale, but with a very different denouement, also unfolded recently. It involved avant-garde jazz drummer and former Detroiter Tani Tabbal, who suffered a massive seizure on Nov. 26 while accompanying a West African dance class in Kingston, not far from his home in Woodstock, N.Y. Upon admission to Westchester Medical Center, Tabbal was diagnosed with a brain tumor, but was fortunate to be put under the care of Dr. William Couldwell, one of the most highly respected neurosurgeons in the country, we’re told.

On Dec. 14, Tabbal underwent a 12-hour surgery — during which he was sedated but awake, so that his reactions could be monitored — which had doctors marveling at his resilience. According to Susanna Ronner, Tabbal’s life partner, “They were very aware of his brilliance as a musician, so everything was done slowly and meticulously so as to not create damage.”

The tumor, which was benign, was the size of a grapefruit. And though Tabbal’s doctors said it was the largest cranial tumor they had ever removed, post-operative tests showed that 100 percent of the renowned percussionist’s musical ability was intact. Says Ronner, “In the hospital, they call Tani the miracle man. Dr. Couldwell not only saved his life, he saved the quality of his life.”

When reached by telephone this past week, the rehabilitating drummer — whose career includes early work with Detroit’s Griot Galaxy and stints with James Carter, Geri Allen, Karl Berger, Roscoe Mitchell and Craig Taborn — was upbeat and grateful: “I’m learning to read again. I’m going slow, but it’s all coming back — and it hasn’t affected my playing or musical knowledge at all.”

Fans, friends and well-wishers can send contributions toward covering the cost of rehabilitation to Tani Tabbal, PO Box 1343, Woodstock, NY 12498. Look for a Detroit benefit in the future.

The Hot & the Bothered is edited by Metro Times arts editor George Tysh. E-mail him at [email protected]

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation