Monsters in the Night
The fact that the titles of Greg Abate’s tunes on Monsters in the Night reference famous horror movies or stories does not mean they are all programmatic in nature. Indeed, while “Pentagram, the Wolfman” is certainly atmospheric and features some high-register cries by Abate’s tenor, the opening “Dracula” is simply a hard-bop swinger with no apparent relation to the infamous Count. And the uptempo Latin number “Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde” is quite pleasant without any discernible personality shifts. So regardless of the titles, the music is mostly straightahead mainstream modern jazz performed with verve and sensitivity by New Englander Abate on alto, tenor and flute, joined by Artie Montanaro on trombone, Paul Nagel on piano, Bill Miele on electric bass and Vinny Pagano on drums.
Abate has recorded a number of albums as a leader, and he always shows himself to be a hard swinger who gets all over his horns with ease. On this occasion, trombonist Montanaro proves a worthy frontline partner, and pianist Nagel solos at a consistently high level. They are all well served by Miele and Pagano, who also make excellent use of their own solo opportunities.