Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Music · Off to the Big Apple: Robert Abate...
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Off to the Big Apple: Robert Abate Band

Kelsey Lauer - August 3rd, 2009
Off to the Big Apple

TC musician debuts at music festival in New York City

By Kelsey Lauer 8/3/09

After more than 40 years of playing music at locales across the
Midwest, Traverse City musician Robert Abate has experience with just
about every type of gig.
“I started playing guitar at the age of eight. I turned pro at 18, and I’m
58 now,” Abate says. “I started playing guitar because in 1958 my parents
told me I was going to take music lessons, and I could pick anything
except the drums. I narrowed it down to the guitar—because of Elvis—or the
trumpet, and in the end the guitar won out.”
But the professional guitarist/singer/composer will be exploring a new
venue, as the eight-piece Robert Abate Band will travel to New York City
to play some of his own works in The Charlie Parker Festival at A
Gathering of the Tribes Gallery on Aug. 15.
“The plan is, we’re driving to New York on Thursday. We’re rehearsing
during the day that Friday, and we’re playing in a New York club that
night,” he says. “On Saturday, we’re playing the show, and we’re going to
try to hustle up something for Sunday. On Monday, we load everything up
and drive in one fell swoop back to Traverse City.”
Band members include Abate on guitar and vocals; his daughter Elatia on
vocals; Mike Hunter and Billy Gauthier of TC and Richard South of Dallas
on trombone; Mitchell Ronk of TC on bass trombone; Ahbay Santos of San
Diego on guitar; David Egeler of Elk Rapids on bass; Peter Murphy of TCas
the trap drummer; and a yet-to-be-hired percussionist.

MUSIC OLD & NEW
“It’s going to be jazz, Latin, rhythm and blues and funk styles,” Abate
says. “We’re doing 12 tunes for the show. I’ve written 10 of them.”
Of the 10 tunes, two of them were written especially for the New York show
and have never been performed before.
“As grandiose as it sounds, it’s going to be a world premiere. The (first)
tune is a funk tune. My wife heard it and said, ‘That sounds like the
devil’s tune,’” he says.
“I don’t know about that, but it’s a powerful tune,” he says, adding that
his song, “Make Me Feel,” starts out like a classical composition and ends
with a funk beat. Another song was written with Abate’s daughter Elatia
in mind, who will be singing with the band at the Charlie Parker Festival.
“Those two (new) tunes that we’re going to be playing in New York, one I
wrote specifically for her to sing,” he says. “It was kind of funny; as I
was writing it—I know her voice and all that—I could hear her singing it.”

NATIONAL PLAYER
Without his daughter’s New York connections, there is no way that the gig
would have happened, according to Abate.
“So, my daughter runs around in the art scene in New York; she has a
Brazilian recording studio a block from her house and she speaks
Portuguese and is in Europe and Brazil all the time. She knows those guys,
and they own a club in New York,” he says. “The farthest I’ve ever played
from Detroit was Chicago, and in this trip, going to NY, it’s like a big
feather in my cap because it solidifies at least my own opinion of myself
being a national player, as opposed to being a local guy.”
Abate hopes that some other connections might allow him to realize his
lifelong dream of playing on a European stage.
“Even more importantly, she knows a group of Turkish people who own a club
in New York, but aside from that, they book music through Europe,” Abate
says. “I certainly am going to try (to meet with them); we’re going to try
to have them there to hear our show. And the funny thing about Americans
playing in Europe is that we’re much bigger over there than we are over
here.”

DETROIT DAYS
At the age of 15, Abate — who was born in Kansas — moved to Detroit with
his military family. It was here that he really learned how to play music.
“That’s where I turned pro and that’s where I really learned how to play,”
he says. “I quit college after my third year of college because I wasn’t
really learning how to play, and I started studying with various people in
Detroit, like Howard Lucas and Marcus Belgrave.”
Besides his work with the guitar, Abate has also branched out into
theatrical musical productions.
“I had a musical theatrical production company going for eight years in
Detroit. It was called Jacara Production Company. I produced an original
ballet that I wrote the score for,” he says. “I’ve written a musical that
got performed in Detroit. I have six CDs out; I write music all the time.
I’ve studied music my whole life.”
Abate also says that he feels the need to pass on all of the musical
skills that he has learned on to the next generation. It’s something that
he’s been successful at.
“Before I came up here, I had my own guitar school downstate, and I wish I
could really have that up here. We had big shows with kids, with bass
players and amplifiers and PA systems and microphones,” he says.
“My kids all went to state for the battle of the bands; they made CDs. I
think I should teach music because it was passed on to me, and it’s kind
of my responsibility to pass it on to other people (and) just to have the
whole thing continue.”
He has even had some students take on paid gigs at a surprisingly young age.
“The summer before I moved up here, (I was working with some kids) who
were 13 years old, and they were playing some jobs in the Detroit area. It
was really a cool thing, because they would just feel so good.”

STILL WAITING
Currently, Abate teaches guitar lessons at Marshall Music in Traverse
City, but he says that his success with students downstate “hasn’t
happened up here yet.”
“I tried at Marshall. I had three boys for a while who were rehearsing and
that kind of thing, but it fell apart because of the schedules of the
kids,” he says. “They don’t have the commitment to music that I do. Maybe
it isn’t even the kids; it’s the parents who want them in so many things.
(Music) takes a certain amount of commitment.”

E-mail robabate@charter.net for more information; visit www.youtube.com
and search for “Robert Abate” to hear various tunes from a live
performance at Poppycock’s on Front Street in Traverse City recorded in
early 2009.

 
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