Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

5

Greg Abate with the Tim Ray Trio: Road to Forever

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Greg Abate's name isn't often broached when debating the merits of contemporary jazz saxophonists. It should be. While perhaps best known for his work on alto, the Rhode Island-based swinger proves on Road to Forever, recorded with his regular working trio, not only that his talents on soprano, tenor sax and flute are exemplary, but that he is equally adept as a composer / arranger.

Each of the ten songs on Road to Forever was written and composed by Abate, and they are invariably engaging and worth hearing many more times than once, as are the stellar interpretations by Abate and his outstanding trio, ably supervised by pianist Tim Ray and firmly anchored by bassist John Lockwood and drummer Mark Walker. Abate's balladic "Farewell Phil Woods" (on which he plays alto) is a lustrous masterwork, but no more so than his dynamic riffs on the standards "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" ("Take the Crowell Train"), "Green Dolphin Street" ("Red Fish Blvd") or Charlie Parker's bop evergreen "Confirmation" ("Mr. Parker"). One minor correction: Abate plays tenor and flute on "Red Fish Blvd," not alto and flute, as indicated in the jacket.

No matter what instrument he is playing, Abate is clearly at the top of his game, soloing with perception and assurance in front of a trio that pushes him every step of the way. Ray, a sharp and responsive accompanist, is an engaging improviser in his own right (on acoustic or electric piano), while Lockwood and Walker make the most of every opportunity to lay bare their singular point of view. Even so, Abate is clearly the captain of this ship, showing with every irrepressible line and phrase why he should indeed be counted among the world's foremost contemporary jazz saxophonists. For those who harbor any doubts about that, Road to Forever should lay them to rest once and for all. Although 2017 is in its infancy as this is being written, high marks to Abate and his trio for producing one of the year's more impressive albums to date.

Track Listing: Road to Forever; City of 2-5s; The Dancing Panda; Take the Crowell Train; Farewell Phil Woods; Whaling City Sound; Red Fish Boulevard; Seasons; Buzzardology; Mr. Parker.

Personnel: Greg Abate: soprano sax (1, 9), alto sax (2-5, 10) tenor sax (6), flute (8), alto sax, flute (7); Tim Ray: piano, electric piano; John Lockwood: acoustic, electric bass; Mark Walker: drums, percussion.

Title: Road to Forever | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Whaling City Sound

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Solos CD/LP/Track Review Solos
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 24, 2018
Read Invisible Threads CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Threads
by Samuel Stroup
Published: January 24, 2018
Read Wes Montgomery In Paris CD/LP/Track Review Wes Montgomery In Paris
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 24, 2018
Read Pneuma CD/LP/Track Review Pneuma
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: January 24, 2018
Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Parking Lot Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review Parking Lot Symphony
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Double Strike" CD/LP/Track Review Double Strike
by James Nadal
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn" CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone" CD/LP/Track Review Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 13, 2017