Greg Abate is not as widely known as Richie Cole, though he has been on the music scene for a long time, having served in both the Ray Charles and Artie Shaw orchestras. But this pair of live sets recorded at Chan's (a Chinese restaurant located in Woonsocket, RI) showcases a friendly battle of alto saxophonists, mostly playing Abate's originals. They come out swinging in "Fast Lane Rhythm," a brisk reworking of the familiar changes to "I Got Rhythm." The leader switches to tenor sax for the delightful blues "C.C.A.," while "I'll Remember Murph" is a sauntering takeoff upon "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise." Johnny Mandel's obscure "Tommyhawk" features Abate on baritone sax, which he plays with the same finesse as the smaller reeds. Abate is also a strong balladeer, as heard in "For Tony," as he returns to alto. The first-rate rhythm section consists of pianist Chris Neville, bassist Paul del Nero, and drummer Artie Cabral. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden