Greg Abate: Evolution

Evolution is a handy title for the new record by Greg Abate. The New England saxophonist has amassed a small but solid body of work in the past decade, both building upon and deviating from his prior work in the Ray Charles Orchestra. Evolution (1201 Music) features his alto, tenor, soprano and baritone saxophones-sometimes overdubbed so as to imply a horn section-atop the stalwart rhythm backdrop of pianist James Williams, bassist Harvey S and drummer Billy Hart. Although he’s primarily known as a bop player, Abate treads on modal territory often on this album. True, the CD’s sequencing could have been better planned, as “Kerry’s Bossa” leads straight into “Dearly Departed (September 11)”-another bossa nova taken at an identical tempo. But this is a small quibble, set against a very personal record of development.