Greg Abate Jazz Quartet
Artist's BiographyGreg Abate is noted by jazz reviewers as being one of the best post-bebop alto players on the jazz map today. Although his style is unmistakably his own, it embodies overtones of Phil Woods, Art Pepper, Jackie McLean, and Charlie Parker.
After completing Berklee College of Music in 1971, Abate first made a name for himself playing lead alto saxophone with the Ray Charles Orchestra. In the mid eighties, he was hired by Dick Johnson to play tenor saxophone with the Artie Shaw Orchestra. Following this two year stint, Abate struck out on his own and has since been doing what he does best. Bop.
Since launching his solo career, Abate has been featured at major jazz clubs and festivals in the United States and abroad. He has recorded ten albums as a leader, performing with such notable artists as Richie Cole, Claudio Roditi, Frank Tiberi, and Kenny Barron.
Besides maintaining an active performance schedule, Abate shares his enthusiasm for music with students of all ages through private instructional workshops and clinics sponsored by Conn-Selmer, Inc.
As a highly respected jazz artist, Greg Abate is extremely passionate about his work. His undying commitment to music, combined with his swinging intensity and ever-present jazz aesthetic has earned him a tide he is well deserving of: the Prince of Bebop.
CD Review – Live in Monterey
Saxophonist Greg Abate’s group, featuring pianist Bill Cunliffe, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Akira Tana, begins Live In Monterey (produced by Dr. Herb Wong) with an energetic take of “You And The Night And The Music,” which is full of verve and swagger. It straight off tells the listener that this is going to be a solid, swinging straight-ahead set featuring inspired blowing and ensemble work. The rhythm section drives the band hard and makes the shift between Afro-Cuban and swing feels seamlessly. Abate, on alto here, digs in and goes for it, while Cunliffe’s left-hand voicings and right-hand single-note runs evoke McCoy Tyner. Drummond, who quotes the tune in his solo, is rock solid, as is Tana, who is about as crisp as they come. The band is extremely tight and the collective intensity of its members, along with their overall approach, suggest they take Coltrane’s classic quartet as a model. Unlike someone who has a similar sound on all their instruments, Abate’s approach on alto and tenor are distinctly different. His alto sound, which recalls Bud Shank’s, is big and slightly rough, yet sweet at the same time, while on tenor his style comes closer to Coltrane. Abate is a melodic and inventive player who never seems to run out of fresh ideas, whether he’s burning through the changes on “Bebop” or taking time on the ballads “Oh You Crazy Moon” and his “For The Love Of Life,” which is tuneful enough to fit into the Great American Songbook. At 74 minutes, Live In Monterey is long, but the varied arrangements, different styles (the bossa-ish take on “Infant Eyes” is tasty) and track sequencing not only make it go by quickly but give the listener a lot to dig into.