Jersey City native Carlos Abadie has been a mainstay on the New York City jazz circuit for almost two decades. The trumpeter and composer has been a member of pianist Jason Lindner's big band and has worked with bassist Omer Avital and saxophonists Illinois Jacquet and Mark Turner. His debut as a leader, Immersed In The Quest, Vol. 1, is a straight-ahead collection of seven covers from the bebop/hard bop era, along with one original from the leader and one from saxophonist Joe Sucato. Abadie and his group demonstrate a great deal of potential on this startup effort.
That Abadie self-identifies with the masters of a bygone era, will be no surprise when hearing these highly structured pieces that subscribe to a somewhat collective group sound, augmented by a repeated pattern of soloing. Abadie, Sucato and pianist Jon Lefcoski take a rotational approach to their solo time, occasionally mixing the order of appearance but always following a formula. Bassist Jason Stewart and drummer Luca Santaniello provide distinctive rhythmic textures while effectively guiding frequent shifts in tempo.
While up-tempo pieces dominate the collection, the quintet takes a couple of leisurely detours. Abadie resurrects the aged "Funny (Not Much)" as an appropriately slow tempo ballad—the first time in the set that the pace takes a much-needed breather. Opening with successive solos from Lefcoski and Abadie, the piece slowly drifts into a Sucato solo that allows him to express longer, more fluid lines. While there is enough innovative playing to give the song a fresh identity, it remains a nostalgic treatment. The other down tempo tune is Kenny Dorham's ballad "La Mesha," and it is given much the same treatment, albeit without much discernable ad-libbing.
There are three Horace Silver covers on Immersed In The Quest, Vol. 1, each a fast-paced and true-to-form interpretation of the original. The first of these, "Pyramid," features an almost subliminal Latin rhythm similar to the inflections that were common to the period music of Dizzy Gillespie. About halfway through the collection, Sucato lifts the group out of its very structured mode with some inventive improvisation on his own composition, "Action Jackson."
While Immersed In The Quest, Vol. 1 becomes somewhat predictable, Abadie and company are talented musicians with much to offer, generating a high level of anticipation for a more opened-up sequel.
Track Listing: People on the Hill; Pyramid; Metamorphosis; Funny (Not Much); Action Jackson; Each Time I think Of You; Moon Rays; Hub's Nub; La Mesha.
Personnel: Carlos Abadie: trumpet; Joe Sucato: tenor saxophone; Jon Lefcoski: piano; Jason Stewart: bass; Luca Santaniello: drums.