Greg Abate & Gary Smulyan - First encounter
First Encounter, the CD and for me and Gary!
We never played together before and only met once many years ago at another jazz festival.
It was a pleasure to play side by side with Gary , he is a great player and for me being mainly an alto player, I also love playing the baritone and this experience was just fantastic. I have had the pleasure to have worked with Harvie S on many of my concerts and recordings and tours since 1993 . He is a great guy and fantastic musician, and have had the pleasure to work several times with the great Steve Johns in the last few years.
Mark Morganelli and I go back to 1991 where he produced my first recording LIVE AT BIRDLAND with James Williams, Rufus Reid and Kenny Washington. This was released on the Candid Jazz Label and since that he had produced several others for me on Candid and other labels such as DA Music, and 1201 Music .
Mark does a wonderful job at producing and is a wonderful musician as well.
I've been a fan of Greg Abate's for a long time and am very excited about this recording project. I've had the opportunity to play with Steve and Harvie many times and we always find our groove in the music. The four of us met an hour or so before the gig, ran a few heads, and we were off. This is an old-school recording in the best sense, in that it captures a moment in time on the bandstand. Jazz is music of the present and I think we captured a swinging set of music which we hope you will enjoy hearing as much as we enjoyed making it.
First encounter is a meeting of two exceptional saxophonists who only got together a few hours before the concert. Then they proceeded to make music as if they had been playing together all their lives. It was a perfect fit. I thank Mark Morganelli for his insight in putting all these ingredients together. Over the years I have performed with Greg, Gary and Steve in many situations but this was the first time in this combination. That was my first encounter. I knew this was going to be special and it was. Playing without a chordal instrument allowed me the freedom to explore the harmony. Steve Johns and I always hook up and we read each other's minds. This is a happy swinging recording in the real Jazz tradition.
Many thanks to Mark Morganelli for capturing this moment on a recording! This was a special performance on a beautiful hot summer evening on the shores of the Hudson River in Dobbs Ferry, NY in 2010. My pals, Gary Smulyan and Greg Abate work so well together here that you don’t miss a chordal instrument at all. The energy and skill from these master saxophonists is always inspiring. Long-time friend, the great bassist Harvie S is so supportive of everything going on. Every note from his bass is meant to be there. I think Harvie and I really lay it down nicely on First Encounter. I hope it’s not too long till our Second Encounter.