Greg Abate 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. To tdate Greg has recorded over 17 other recordings as leader.
Greg is also an adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at Rhode Island College and is also a very active jazz clinician with co. sponsorship from the Conn-Selmer Instrument Co., conducting workshops and master classes through the U.S and abroad.
This year, Greg was inducted into the RHODE ISLAND MUSIC HALL OF FAME (2016).
What some say about Greg Abate:
“I sleep a lot better knowing there are alto players like Greg! It was a joy to make music with him and he writes good songs that are challenging.” Phil Woods
"Abate is not content to rely on stock bebop riffs and standard chord progressions. Rather, the sharp angularity of his phrases and the often startling pauses in his fast-moving lines give his work a feeling of constant invention and creativity.” –Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
“…Abate’s musical style can be seen as a distillation of swing’s easygoing vibe and bop’s
more animated groove. He has developed a unique voice. –METRO San Jose,
“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
“Greg Abate is one of the most appealing saxophonists on the scene today. He is mature with an abundance of gentle self-confidence. The result is that he plays music with sweetness and daring.” –Jim Merod, New Jazz Recordings
Matt deChamplain grew up in Wethersfield, Connecticut attending the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts during high school, obtaining his bachelors degree from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School of Music and graduated magna cum laude with his masters from the University of Toledo in Ohio in 2012. He has opened for Wynton Marsalis’ Quintet, Dave Brubeck and Hank Jones, played with Dave Brubeck, Shawnn Monteiro, Nat Reeves, Steve Davis, Javon Jackson Jose Feliciano, Paul Keller and Jon Hendricks and has appeared at the JVC Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center and jazz clubs such as the Regatta Bar in Boston, Smalls in New York City and Yoshi's in San Francisco.
Matt was selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program where he engaged in a two week intensive composition and performance workshop led by Dr. Billy Taylor and Curtis Fuller culminating with three performances filmed live from the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He has participated in the Martial Solal Jazz Piano Competition in Paris, France, toured New Ross, Ireland with bassist Nat Reeves, and released two albums as a leader, "Stride Bop" and "Pause". He has also been featured on guitarist Norman Johnson's album "Get It While You Can" (2011), jazz violinist Jason Anick's album "Tipping Point" (2012) and recorded several songs with vocalist Jon Hendricks for "Holiday Wishes II: River of Stars" (2013). Matt currently holds a faculty position at the Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford), teaches piano at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and is a visiting clinician for the Glastonbury High School Jazz Ensemble. While maintaining an active performance schedule, he continues to teach and compose.
During the past 30 years, Nat Reeves has been one of the top bassists in jazz. His supportive and stimulating playing has uplifted a countless number of sessions and recording dates (most notably with the great altoists Jackie McLean and Kenny Garrett) and he has led his own CD State of Emergency. Both as a performer and an educator, he has made a strong impact on the jazz world.
"Noted for his artful articulation, time, tone, taste and irrepressible sense of swing and fluid invention, Reeves has always been a favorite of all kinds of instrumentalists, but a particularly special favorite of super saxophonists. His resume included work with an array of top performers at gigs world-wide from Tel Aviv to Tokyo, in famous venues ranging from the Village Vanguard to the Montreaux Jazz Festival." - Owen McNally, The Hartford Courant
Nat began teaching part-time at the University of Hartford (The Hartt School jazz program was organized and run by Jackie McLean) and the Artists Collective (an arts organization founded by Jackie and his wife Dollie). In 2001 Nat began a full time teaching career at The Hartt School where the African American Music Studies Program had been renamed the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz. “I build on what my students already know and try to convince them to be more aggressive with learning. I’ve learned a lot from my students particularly about technology. I often teach what I want to learn. I love helping the students. I think of teaching similar to playing a gig: being well organized, accomplishing goals and solving problems. It is a lot of fun and it makes me a better musician.”
During the past year, Nat Reeves has traveled the world including performing in India and Japan, at the San Francisco, New Orleans, Detroit and Atlanta Jazz Festivals, and with Pharoah Sanders at Dizzy’s at Lincoln Center.
Ben Bilello received his Bachelors Degree in Jazz Studies at the Hartt School of Music, where he studied with Ben Toth, Glen Velez, Michael Carvin, and Tony Leone. Since graduating from Hartt, Ben has performed and recorded with Mulgrew Miller, Eddie Henderson, Branford Marsalis, Curtis Fuller, Javon Jackson, George Cables, Joe Wilder, Anthony Braxton, Charles Flores, Steve Davis, Jimmy Greene, Wayne Escoffery, Dezron Douglas, New Jazz Workshop, and Shelton “Fatman” Laster, among many others.
In addition to performing with noted jazz musicians, Ben has toured with the South American folk groups Viva Quetzal and Markamusic. At this time, Ben can be seen performing with his own trio, Josh Evans and The Connection, bassist Jeff Fuller, and Earl MacDonald’s New Directions Ensemble, as well as many others.