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Thursday, November 07, 2013

CD Review: Greg Abate Quartet featuring Mike Levine - Time for Dave.

Greg Abate (ten/alt/sop.); Mike Levine (pno); Todd Baker (bs); Dave Zinno (bs on I Do Love You, Blue Moon, The Duke); Gary Johnson (dms).
(Review by Lance).
A reminder of last night's superb session by Greg Abate, this time with an American Trio in a tribute to Dave Brubeck recorded earlier this year.
As he did last night, Abate demonstrates an enviable technique soaring seemingly effortlessly through the changes. However, unlike last night when he played alto and flute, on this disc he leaves the flute in its case and adds soprano (It's a Raggy Waltz) and tenor (Take Five, Blue Moon, Dave in Rimouski - comp. Abate) to his armoury and he turns out to be a formidable performer on these horns too. Lyrical on soprano, light and flowing on tenor it isn't always easy to differentiate between the upper range of the tenor and the lower notes of the alto ditto - alto and soprano. Comparisions with the originals are irrelevant - both are worthy of a place in anyone's collection. This is a tribute disc not a re-creation. Abate plays boppier lines than Desmond with a sound that's harder whilst still retaining the same melodic feel.
Pianist Levine, who supplied two of three original compositions, mainly avoids the sometimes bombastic approach of Brubeck that alienated so many of his critics in the early days of the quartet (I wasn't one of them!) although he hints at it on Blue Moon. He's a fine player well worth checking out.
Both Baker and Zinno fit into the Gene Wright role whilst Johnson doesn't try and be Joe Morello - not many could - he's still his own man and drives the group along helping to make this a most enjoyable disc.
Lance.

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