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Greg Skaff | “Re Up”

Guitarist-Composer-Educator Greg Skaff, a Reliably Swinging Presence and Facile Improvisor on the New York Scene Since the Late ‘80s, Returns with the Trio Album

Re Up

Featuring Bassist Ugonna Okegwo and

Drummer Jonathan Barber

Available Today via Soulmation Records

Jazz Guitar Today Interview with Greg Skaff

JAZZIZ Ten Albums You Need to Know: June 2024

Album-Release Concerts Featuring

Ugonna Okegwo and Jonathan Barber:

The Side Door Jazz Club, Old Lyme, CT

Saturday, June 15, 8:30 PM

Tickets Available Online

Mezzrow, New York City

Thursday, June 27

Sets at 7:30 and 9:30 PM

Tickets Available Online

A reliably swinging presence and facile improviser on the New York scene since the late ‘80s, guitarist Greg Skaff has shared the bandstand with such jazz greats as Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, David “Fathead” Newman and Ralph Peterson Jr., as well current notables like Mike LeDonne, David Hazeltine, Orrin Evans, Ben Allison, Jim Rotondi and Joe Farnsworth. He has also toured and recorded with “Queen of R&B” Ruth Brown and jazz diva Gloria Lynne and recorded seven albums as a leader.

Skaff’s latest, Re Up, recorded with bassist Ugonna Okegwo and young drumming sensation Jonathan Barber, follows the guitar trio format he explored on 2021’s Polaris, which paired him with iconic bassist Ron Carter and the great drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath.

“I just like playing guitar trio with no other chord instrument, right now,” said the guitarist, who had

previously worked with an organist on 2017’s groove-oriented Soulmation, 2012’s 116th & Park, 2009’s East Harlem Skyline and 2004’s Ellington Boulevard. And his rhythm tandem of choice since 2017 — stalwart bassist Okegwo and Barber, who follows in the lineage of great melodic drummers like

Brian Blade, Marcus Gilmore and Rudy Royston — more than fills the bill. “This is the first time I’ve recorded with a working trio. And I’m glad I did document the way we play together because I’ve gotten really comfortable playing with them and how they react.”

Skaff says there’s a certain freedom in the trio format he doesn’t get when playing with an organist. “I’ve gotten comfortable with having more space in the music,” he says. “And I like the openness of playing with a chordless trio and being able to change voicings without clashing with someone.”

On Re Up, Skaff explores a varied program of swinging originals along with two well-chosen covers by

revered jazz elders (Thelonious Monk’s “Green Chimneys” and Duke Ellington’s “Fleurette Africaine,” rendered as a sublime solo guitar piece). Along with his bluesy meditation, “Southern Pacific,” the buoyant, Ornette Coleman-influenced “No Cover,” the energized swinger “Faith” and the flowing title track, Skaff also performs separate trio and solo renditions of his dreamy “Peace Place.”

About Greg Skaff

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Skaff studied jazz at Wichita State University before moving to New York, where he soon began making an impression with his solidly swinging style, rooted in his jazz guitar heroes Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, Pat Martino, George Benson, Grant Green and Jim Hall as well as more contemporary players like John Scofield, Pat Metheny and John Abercrombie. He held the guitar chair in tenor saxophonist Stanley “Don’t Mess With Mr. T” Turrentine’s band for five years and subsequently worked in bands led by saxophonists Bobby Watson and David “Fathead” Newman as well as in bassist Ron Carter’s big band. Skaff’s debut as a leader, Blues and Other News, was recorded in 1994 and released in 1996. His subsequent recordings — 2004’s blues-drenched Ellington Boulevard, 2009’s East Harlem Skyline, 2012’s 116th & Park and 2017’s jazz-rock-tinged Soulmation — found the guitarist working exclusively in an organ group setting. A regular at such NYC jazz clubs as Small’s, Mezzrow,

Birdland, Blue Note and Zinc Bar, Skaff continues to distinguish himself as an outstanding player on the scene.

Greg Skaff’s Re Up EPK

Photo by Yasmine Skaff

Ugonna Okegwo, Greg Skaff, Jonathan Barber (left to right).

Greg Skaff · Re Up

Soulmation Records · Release Date: June 14, 2024

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