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World class jazz to visit Los Alamos

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By Kirsten Laskey

Friday, Los Alamos will get into a jazz groove, so put on your sunglasses and get ready to snap your fingers.

Greg Abate, a jazz saxophonist, flutist and composer, along with the Pete Amahl Trio, will appear in the Los Alamos Summer Concert Series at 7 p.m. at Ashley Pond.

Abate, according to his website, is an international jazz/recording artist.

His resume includes playing lead alto saxophone for the Ray Charles Orchestra for two years and being an adjunct professor of jazz studies at Rhode Island College. The Pete Amahl Trio is also made up of accomplished musicians. Pete Amahl, the drummer, has played with famous jazz musicians such as Mose Allison. Bass player Luise Guerra has also played with a lot of major jazz musicians and John Rengel, keyboardist, is considered one of the top jazz pianists, concert organizer Russ Gordon said.

During the concert Friday night, the audience can look forward to “some improvisational jazz,” Gordon said. “Both beautiful melodies and some be-bop jazz.”

“Which is what I like about jazz,” he added, “(you) do a beautiful melody and go to a jam and come back to (the melody).”

He described Abate’s and the trio’s music similar in style to John Coltrane and Ben Webster.

Regarding Abate, Gordon said, “He is one of the top be-bop (musicians). He rocks out. He’ll play all different stuff.”

Be-bop, Gordon explained, is characterized by fast tempo and improvisation. “It’s just really interesting,” he said.

Interesting is what people can expect from Friday’s concert. There could be a lot of twists on some favorite jazz tunes.

Gordon recalled last year when Abate performed in Los Alamos, a member of the audience requested a song. Abate started to play the song and then began improvising. When it was over, the audience member commented that the song wasn’t one they requested. To which Abate replied, “I’m a jazz-man and this is be-bop!”

“He’s put on some thrilling concerts here,” Gordon said, “and this one … is not going to let people down.”

“It will take you into a groove,” he added. “Just close your eyes and groove to it.” Besides performing, Abate is also offering to showcase his teaching skills. If interested in taking a lesson, call Gordon at 661-4891 or e-mail him at gordonsconcerts.com.