Greg Abate captures one of the final live performances of Phil Woods
Kindred Spirits Live, Greg Abate's new recording, captures one of the final live performances of legendary sax player Phil Woods.
Greg Abate boasts one of hard bop's best-known alto saxophones. In
fact, he's earned the nickname "the prince of bebop, " which makes
perfect sense if you've seen him perform or if you've heard any
number of his recordings. It won't take long, as you spin his new
recording, for you to hear the brio in Abate's work, the power and
passion behind his playing. He truly does his instrument justice.
It is something of an injustice that his bandmate on this recording,Phil Woods, is no longer with us to feel the love and hear the accolades bestowed on his and Abate's new work. Woods, who passed in late September, was throughout his career widely hailed as one of the prototypical practitioners on the instrument. Prior to his passing, Abate and Woods, backed by the Tim Ray Trio-which includes world-class talents Ray on piano, Mark Walker on drums and John Lockwood on bass-whipped up the ebullient vibes on Kindred Spirits Live at Chan's. Live is one of just a short list of Woods' last live sax performances caught on record, and essentially and unexpectedly, a recording dedicated to the jazz giant.
It goes without question that Woods enjoyed an illustrious career,
one that was both inspired and inspirational. He began playing the
sax at 12, developed his artistry in the wake of the incredible
legacy left by the king of bebop, Charlie Parker. Woods became one of
the instrument's true standard bearers and he mentored countless
young musicians throughout his life.
It's not a coincidence that Abate himself, an individualist on the
instrument, pays a deep artistic debt to the fine work of Phil Woods
and Parker before him. This recording, in consummate Abate fashion,
is tasteful and powerful, as well as an emotional send-off to a
musician the likes of which we will not witness again. Still you can
hear him side by side with Abate, onstage, brimming with the noise
and notes from two great saxophones. This music, like so much of
Woods' work, will surely live on forever.
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