Christian Fabian | The Masters Return!

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Jazz: Bebop Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Moods: Featuring Bass
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The Masters Return!

by Christian Fabian

Jazz combo straight from the heart
Genre: Jazz: Bebop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Wayshowers
4:59 album only
2. My One And Only Love
6:31 album only
3. Bebop
4:46 album only
4. Morning After
4:31 album only
5. Chameleon
5:27 album only
6. Summerland
4:32 album only
7. Willow Weep For Me
4:59 album only
8. Billie's Bounce
3:47 album only
9. Dear Thaddeus And Roland
4:21 album only
10. Abian Blues
5:24 album only
11. All Blues
5:32 album only
12. Milestones
5:56 album only


Album Notes

On bassist Christian Fabian’s new recording, The Masters Return! featuring the Fabian Zone Trio and special guests, it’s like jazz’s quantum theory (“the transformation of radiant energy”) where each of the talented individuals shine, but the collective mass is heaviest when all the elements come together. Fabian looks at each of his recording sessions and concerts as a unique jazz experiment where he never knows exactly what is going to happen during the improvisation, but counts on the creativity of the musicians to bring forth musical magic.

As on his previous recordings, Fabian started with a complimentary core of first-class musicians -- in this case, pianist Mike Longo and drummer Lewis Nash. On a few tracks the trio is supplemented by trumpet and flugelhorn player Jimmy Owens and tenor saxophonist Andres Boiarsky. Christian selected several jazz classics to re-work with the new band including Charlie Parker’s “Billies Bounce,” Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bebop,” Miles Davis’s “All Blues” and “Milestones,” Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon,” and the standard “Willow Weep For Me.” In addition, Fabian contributed three originals and invited bandmembers Longo and Owens to each bring in an original composition.

Then they went into the studio without rehearsals and recorded live-to-two-track (with the mix happening at the same time and no overdubs). Most of the tunes on the CD are first takes. “If I am put on the spot to improvise as a musician, the best music comes out,” explains Fabian. “These are all marvelous musicians and all feel comfortable playing ‘in the moment.’ When you only play a piece once or twice, there is a certain energy connected to it that the listener senses. Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra were both strong believers in first takes. John Coltrane didn’t even show Tommy Flanagan the changes to ‘Giant Steps’ until the recording session. It’s an attempt to get to a different level of music through spontaneous creative interaction between the musicians.”

The Fabian Zone Trio CDs are available at Christian Fabian’s website (, the CAP record company site (, online webstores (including, and various digital downloads locations such as iTunes.

“I called the album The Masters Return! for three reasons,” explains Fabian. “Many of the songs were written by some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. The players I chose to work with are all master musicians themselves and all played with some of the legends. The third reason is based on spiritualism and the belief that there will be a time when ‘The Ancient Masters’ return to our planet and show us how to live in peaceful harmony.”

Currently considered to be a strong youthful presence in the New York City jazz scene, Fabian was born in Sweden, raised from the age of six in Germany and began his college studies in The Netherlands. He came to the United States to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He was Lionel Hampton’s bassist for many years and still performs in the Lionel Hampton Big Band. Fabian also has performed onstage with Gary Burton, Elvin Jones, Hank Jones, Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Al Gray, David Sanchez, John Stowell, Lou Rawls, New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble (Mike Longo’s big band), Jon Hendricks, Chaka Kahn, and Cheryl Bentyne of Manhattan Transfer. Christian’s own band, the Fabian Zone Trio, has released three CDs.

The musicians on The Masters Return! bring a wealth of experience to the recording. Mike Longo played piano with Dizzy Gillespie for 25 years (and served as his Music Director). Longo’s other credits include Cannonball Adderley, Coleman Hawkins, Gene Krupa, Nancy Wilson, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Williams, Paul Chambers, Lee Konitz, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims, Roy Eldridge, Astrud Gilberto, James Moody and Buddy Rich. Drummer Lewis Nash, who has served on the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music, also played with Dizzy Gillespie as well as the Tommy Flanagan Trio, Betty Carter, Sonny Rollins, Oscar Peterson, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Diana Krall, Ron Carter and many others. Special guest horn player Jimmy Owens has performed with Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Joe Zawinul. Saxophonist Andres Boiarsky’s credits include Gillespie, Paquito D’Rivera, Al di Meola, David Sanchez, Nancy Wilson and Claudio Roditi.

There is a common denominator among the four musicians Fabian chose to work with on this recording – they all played with Dizzy Gillespie, an early influence on Fabian. When Christian was 12-years-old, he saw a Dizzy Gillespie concert, and also went backstage and spoke with Dizzy. A few months later Christian saw Lionel Hampton perform, never dreaming he would eventually become Hampton’s bassist. Those two concerts inspired Christian to pursue music and opened the door to the world of jazz. Soon he started learning to play electric bass, and when he was 16 began studying upright acoustic bass.

Fabian left Germany to study at the Maastricht Conservatory in The Netherlands for nearly four years. At that time Christian was listening to Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Tribal Tech which inspired him to start the jazz-rock-fusion band Time Design which eventually recorded three albums and built a strong following in the Maastricht area. One of his instructors, Emiel Van Egdom (John Patitucci, Alex Acuna, Brian Bromberg), had attended the Berklee College of Music in the United States, and when Van Egdom went to Los Angeles to record a CD, he invited Fabian to visit him for three months. “The great musicians I met at that time gave me the courage, motivation and enthusiasm to seriously pursue jazz.”

After meeting many Berklee College graduates, Fabian decided he should study there. His classes included advanced harmony, composition, horn arranging and film scoring. Fabian graduated with honors and received his BA degree in performance and film scoring. While at Berklee, Fabian had his own band and they recorded some demos and performed in Japan. During this time, Fabian played onstage with Gary Burton, Makoto Ozone, Sebastian DeKrom and Antonio Sanchez. Fabian also studied the musicianship of legendary bass players such as Charlie Mingus, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers and Oscar Pettiford.

While still in college, Fabian was hired as the bassist for the Lionel Hampton Big Band after being recommended by Brian Bromberg. Fabian played at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (where he also got to back numerous top jazz greats), and after graduation he toured regularly with the group. Fabian was invited by the Thelonious Monk Institute to study with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Bill Taylor and Diana Krall, among others. Since moving to New York, Fabian has regularly played with a dozen different jazz groups on a freelance basis in addition to starting the Fabian Zone Trio. Fabian has studied with Mike Longo, and has become a music mentor/teacher in his own right. He also founded a non-profit organization, R.U.B. (Records of Universal Bandwidth), specifically to honor elder music greats and capture their knowledge and wisdom for future generations.

The first Fabian Zone Trio recording, Across the Tracks, featured pianist Andy LaVerne (Woody Herman, Stan Getz) and drummer Danny Gottlieb (Bill Evans, John McLaughlin) plus three guests: Claudio Roditi on trumpet (Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner), Corey Christiansen on guitar (John Pizzarelli, John Pisano) and Mike Longo on percussion. The second album, Curtain of Life, had Fabian on electric bass with a more fusion-funk trio – keyboardist Steve Hunt (Stanley Clarke, Freddie Hubbard) and drummer Steve Michaud (Alan Holdsworth, David Hines) with guest saxophonist Lance Bryant (Bootsy Collins, Lou Rawls) and sax/clarinet player Bill Vint (Aretha Franklin, The Temptations). On The Masters Return!, Fabian is back on upright bass (which he bows on a couple of tunes). He says the new recording “is rooted in the bebop tradition and is swinging like crazy.”

“I named the group Fabian Zone Trio to identify a territory as a bandleader. There is total freedom within the ‘zone.’ It is not so much about me, but an opportunity for great musicians to come together to try new things, stretch boundaries and create music that has never been made before. Only by being totally open to the moment can you hope to make something innovative and special in jazz.”

Chrisitan Fabian Cell: 646 522-4120 email:,



to write a review

Ruthe Forbriger

On the new recording by bassist Christian Fabian, THE MASTERS RETURN! featuring the Fabian Zone Trio and special guests, each of the talented individuals shine. We are talking about the art of jazz improvisation here. You know the drill: no rehearsals, get top talent together in the studio, one or two takes only, no overdubs, and then see what happens. It is a cool concept, made more interesting by being sessions led by a bassist (formerly with Lionel Hampton). The other musicians are: pianist Mike Longo and drummer Lewis Nash (on a couple tunes the trio adds trumpet and flugelhorn player Jimmy Owens and tenor saxophonist Andres Boiarsky).

The band tackles three original tunes by Fabian plus one each by Longo and Owens. The other material was definitely written by “masters” (Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Bird, Herbie Hancock, etc.). But whether they are doing original compositions or covers, the Fabian Zone Trio stretches out and does the material their way. The improvisation is tight, not free-form. These are true professionals who know their business.

This is Fabian’s third CD with his Fabian Zone Trio and each time he uses different musicians. He also has several albums with his previous jazz-rock band, Time Design. Besides Hampton, Fabian has performed with Gary Burton, Elvin Jones, Hank Jones, Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, John Stowell, Lou Rawls, New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble (Mike Longo’s big band), Jon Hendricks, Chaka Kahn, and Cheryl Bentyne. Christian is originally from Europe, but graduated from the Berklee College of Music and says his influences are all the greatest jazz bassists like Charlie Mingus, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers and Oscar Pettiford. So give Fabian credit for trying to follow in the footsteps of the best of the best. I also like the fact that Fabian sticks to acoustic bass on the recording and bows as well as plucks.

The music is an interesting mix of be-bop experimentation, post-be-bop licks, and more modern constructions. Recommended for the adventurous listener.