Chemistry between Abate and Tim Ray Trio shows on latest release “Gratitude”

Gratitude: Stage Door LIVE@TheZ

Greg Abate (Whaling City Sound)

by Ken Dryden

The New York City Jazz Record


There are many players who are so recognized for their work on one instrument that the public is often unaware that they play several more. Greg Abate has been primarily heard on alto saxophone throughout his career, but for this live recording, his fourth both for Whaling City Sound and with pianist Tim Ray’s trio with bassist John Lockwood and drummer Mark Walker, he decided also to feature himself on tenor and baritone saxophones and flute. The time that the musicians have spent together as a unit shows in the solid performances throughout this live set, most of which focuses on Abate’s potent originals.

Things start with his engaging bossa nova “Gratitude”, each member showcased in turn. When the leader is playing bop tunes, the influence of jazz master Phil Woods is present; though he is by no means a clone, it is his execution and wealth of ideas that invite comparison to the late alto saxophonist, whom he admired greatly. The feeling is especially present in “Bop Lives” and his heartfelt tribute “Farewell Phil Woods”, the latter written as a ballad but performed here at a strolling tempo. The jazz waltz “Hazy Moon” is the first of two songs spotlighting Abate’s considerable chops on flute, darting lines incorporating Eric Dolphy-like detours in spots. His sole appearance on baritone is on his rapid-fire “In The Stratosphere” where his gritty sound recalls Pepper Adams.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Serenade To A Cuckoo” featured the composer on flute on the original, but Abate opts for tenor to give it a gruffer texture. Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz” is a trio number and Ray’s Caribbean-flavored treatment in the introduction is a surprising, novel approach; this performance never loses steam in spite of stretching out over nine minutes. Back on tenor, Abate devours Joe Henderson’s hard-charging signature piece “Inner Urge”, tackling it at a brisk tempo. The excellent recording gives the listener a front-and-center seat for musicians having a ball on stage.


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O’s Place Jazz Magazine Reviews Gratitude by Greg Abate

Check out the latest review of Greg Abate’s live album, Gratitude, courtesy of O’s Place Jazz Magazine!
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!

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Dave Zinno offers “string of well thought out jazz recordings” on latest release


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.



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