O’s Notes: Greg Abate is mixing things up on Gratitude; a scintillating live set recorded at The Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford, MA, an intimate setting with one-take, spontaneous recordings. The program includes mostly original music, some new, some old and a few classic covers. There’s high style swinging on “Bop Lives” with a cool solo by bassist John Lockwood. Lockwood returns to the spotlight on “Jitterbug Waltz”, this time sharing the stage with pianist Tim Ray and drummer Mark Walker for great solos. Greg is literally “In the Stratosphere” leading the way with a blistering lead line on baritone sax. Abate plays alto, tenor and flute on this collection, a lively encounter!
DAVE ZINNO [bass] and his group, Unisphere [Mike Tucker-ts, Eric Benny Bloom-tpt/flg, Tim Ray-p, Rafael Barata-drm], have issued their second recording. In Zinno’s notes, he references Rio as his home base and discusses the fusion of North American and Brazilian music. As a result, one might expect a recording of soft and pretty cliched music. Not so, led by Mike Tucker’s consistently strong tenor work, this is closer to a hard bop exploration. Recorded 11/28 & 29/18, STORIES TOLD is the latest from Whaling City [#113] in a string of well thought out jazz recordings and offerings overall better than the tired old music issued by the names on major labels today. A mixture of 9 originals and covers [66:18], a good choice for those looking for adventure and not just familiarity.