Unlike most post bop players, Greg Abate does not have to fall back on a handful of stock phrases in a particular key to build a solo around. Abate is one of the more prolific lyrical players of his generation and with The Greg Abate Quintet featuring Phil Woods we simply have twin sons of different mothers i.e. a perfect pairing of musical spirit and invention.
Toss in the fact that Greg Abate surrounds himself with a first call group of talent including Jesse Green on piano, Evan Gregor on bass and Bill Goodwin on drums and the mix of Latin, Straight Ahead and traditional Bebop styles are literally off the charts. Woods appears on half the recording and as per usual gives a master class to any promising alto player within earshot. The set list itself features seven of the ten tunes as Abate originals, Phil Woods contributes an original and solid compositions round out this stellar release from John Patrick.
While Abate's free wheeling style sets the mood for the entire release, the previously unreleased Phil Woods composition "Goodbye Mr. Pepper" is a particular gem paying homage to the great Art Pepper that left this planet all too soon. Abate's virtuoso playing is highlighted with his use of alto, soprano, baritone saxophone and flute thus giving this dynamic performance additional texture and variety that should appeal to the straight ahead crowd across the board.
Those that tend to hit from the more traditional side of the plate are probably familiar with the consistently high quality performances turned in by Greg Abate while those that may not be as familiar would certainly be remiss if they did not take this recording for a spin. I recently had a reader criticize my column for occasionally being a little fast and loose with a five star rating so allow me to quote Thom Tereso, President of Rhombus Records -
"This new Greg Abate CD featuring Phil Woods is a must have for all fans of straight ahead jazz, 5 stars..."
Seems like word travels fast.
Tracks: Roger Over And Out; Pear For The Bear; Rocco's Place; Carmel By The Sea; Marny; J.A.G.; Special K; Contemplation; Goodbye Mr. Pepper; Realization.
Personnel: Greg Abate: alto, soprano, baritone saxophone and flute; Phil Woods: alto saxophone (1,3,4,6,9); Jesse Green: piano; Evan Gregor: bass; Bill Goodwin: drums.