GREG ABATE is a jazz saxophonist, flautist and composer, who is on tour 250 days a year around the world. In July this year he is touring in Britain. In the mid-70s, after finishing a four year course at Berklee College Of Music, Greg played lead alto for the Ray Charles Orchestra for 2 years. In 1978 he formed the group ‘Channel One’ which was a favourite in the New England area and from there played tenor sax with the revived Artie Shaw Orchestra under leadership of Dick Johnson from 1986 to ’87. Then Greg ventured out as post hard-bop soloist playing Jazz Festivals, Jazz Societies and Jazz Clubs throughout the US, Canada and abroad, including most of Europe, UK and Russia.
Although he also plays tenor, flute, and soprano, alto is his main instrument. Greg considers Charlie Parker, Paul Desmond, and Phil Woods to be among his most important influences. He doesn’t play very many weddings or dances, but even when he does, he only plays bebop — tunes and solos right out of the classic Charlie Parker lexicon — complex, high energy melody lines.
Greg recorded his first CD ‘Live At Birdland NYC’ in 1991 on the Candid Jazz Label with the trio of James Williams, Rufus Reid and Kenny Washington. Greg has recorded over 17 other recordings as leader. He is also an adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at Rhode Island College and is an active jazz clinician with co-sponsorship from the Conn-Selmer Instrument Co., conducting workshops and master classes in the U.S and abroad. On the CD he made with the late Phil Woods, Abate says: “In my opinion Phil Woods has been the premier alto player for many decades. To actually play together was a fabulous experience.” Woods responded with equal admiration: “I sleep a lot better knowing there are alto players like Greg Abate.”
“Greg Abate is an absolute powerhouse who will absolutely not let hard driving bebop die. One of the most exciting players around today, Greg’s commitment to the music is total…” – W Pickowitz Jr, The Jazz Messenger
“Multi-saxophonist Greg Abate is a prime example of the ‘rear back and blow’ school of contemporary bop-based players. The tunes he writes or chooses are based on the kinds of changes that harmony-oriented jazzmen have favored since the beginning and he swings through them with and eager and easy virtuosity.” – David Franklin, Jazz Times