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Acoustic Artist Series: Greg Abate Quartet (Jazz)

  • The Packing House 156 River Road Willington, CT, 06279 United States (map)



The Greg Abate Quartet returns to The Packing House on March 18th!

Greg Abate jazz saxophonist, flutist, composer continues as an International Jazz / Recording Artist with 225 days a year touring the globe.

In the mid 70’s after finishing a four year program at Berklee College Of Music, Greg played lead alto for the Ray Charles Orchestra for 2 years. In 1978 Greg formed his group 'Channel One' which was a favorite in the New England area and from there had the opportunity to play tenor sax with the revived Artie Shaw Orchestra under leadership of Dick Johnson from 1986 to ’87.

Following this experience Greg ventured out as post hard bop soloist playing Jazz Festivals, Jazz Societies and Jazz Clubs throughout the U.S. Canada and abroad, including most of Europe, UK, and Moscow and Georgia Russia.

June 18, 2016 ~ Greg Abate quartet boppin' hard at the Lizard Rodeo Lounge in the Range Cafe in Bernalillo, NM. John Rangell on keyboards.

A recent live album, Kindred Spirits, released in 2016 (Whaling City Sound) featured The Greg Abate Quintet with Phil Woods, and the Tim Ray Trio. This 2-CD set was recorded live at Chans in Rhode Island (read more).

His most recent recording, Road to Forever, was just released last month on the Waling City Sound label (read more). The project includes ten original tunes written by Greg and features members of his working trio Tim Ray Trio), Tim Ray (piano), John Lockwood (bass), and Mark Walker (drums) who joined us at The Packing House in February.

Greg will be joined at The Packing House on March 18th by Matt deChamplain on piano, Nat Reeves on bass, and Ben Bilello on drums [].

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to see this jazz great in our intimate historic setting. This concert is a part of The Packing House Acoustic Artist Series hosted by the "Eastern Connecticut Center for History, Art, and Performance" (EC-CHAP). Doors 7:30pm / Show 8:00pm. Soft drinks and snacks available. "BYOB&F" - Bring Your Own Beverage & Food (Wine & Beer Only - I.D. Required).

For information and table reservations, please call 518-791-9474.

The Artists:

Greg Abate

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

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.


Nat Reeves

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

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.


The Packing House  |  156 River Road, Suite 1301Willington, Connecticut 06279  |  (518)791-9474