Gregory Tardy, one of the today’s major voices on tenor saxophone, demonstrates his exceptional composing skills on his newest recording, Sufficient Grace.
On this collection of new and original compositions, Tardy convenes Marcus Printup (trumpet), Keith Brown (piano); Sean Conly (bass), and Willie Jones III (drums and producer) for a lively recording that is full of musical dedications and reflections and highlights his love of swing and the tradition with a modern flair.
One of the most versatile musicians of his generation, saxophonist/multi-reedist/composer/ bandleader/educator Gregory Tardy was born in New Orleans and developed his chops in the bands of Elvin Jones, Andrew Hill, Tom Harrell, Dave Douglas, Nicholas Payton, Bill Frisell, Rashied Ali, Elio Villafranca, Todd Marcus, Omer Avital, Brian Lynch and many others.
“The title track is a celebratory song written as a reflection on my gratitude that my worst inadequacies and mistakes never disqualify me from God’s love and unmerited favor,” Tardy says. “I feel that as our country has become more divisive and quicker to cancel people. An abundance of grace would go a long way to help us heal.” This track was also musically inspired by Tardy‘s love for gospel hip-hop and it serves as a mellow feature for the multi-directional pianist Keith Brown.
With Sufficient Grace, Tardy uses recent influences and concepts to compose the music, but always with a nod toward the music’s tradition and swing. Much of the music for this project was conceptualized and written during the shutdown of the pandemic and also in the midst of conceptualizing and composing a musical suite for tentet based on the John Bunyon book The Pilgrim’s Progress.
Tardy’s recorded output as a leader stretches back to 1992 and the release of his first album, Crazy Love, which also is the same year that he joined the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine; a relationship that lasted several years. Tardy moved to NYC in 1994 towards the end of the “young lion” movement in jazz, quickly becoming a highly sought after New York sideman, and landing a major label contract with Impulse!/GRP Records (releasing Serendipity). As a casualty of the Verve/Impulse merger he went on to record some critically acclaimed projects for smaller labels (JCurve Records, Palmetto, and SteepleChase). Tardy has been featured prominently on several DownBeat Magazine “Albums of the Year,” and several Grammy nominated recordings; including a Grammy winning CD with Brian Lynch in 2006. The artist has also been voted a “Rising Star” in DownBeat Magazine’s Annual Critics and Readers Polls multiple times.