From the start, Gregory Tardy has always impressed as a saxophonist, certainly in terms of technique and range. He is grounded, loosely, in the post-bop style and over the years has come up with a differing set of variants. This latest manifestation would seem to indicate a move away from more abstract settings.
A major benefit in terms of composition is that the tunes, all his own apart from the standard Everything Happens To Me, have a stronger appeal than did many originals on earlier albums. You would not have expected to find on those a tune called I Swing Because I’m Happy, let alone one that can be said to justify the title.
A characteristic he makes splendid use of is an extensive range: lots of forays in the upper register, all neatly put together and no squeals. The title track is an appealing ballad, while saxophone and the trumpet of Alex Norris get stuck into the blues on Absolute Truth. Tardy’s slick arrangements allow plenty of solo space for the sidemen, with Keith Brown often stretching the accepted piano routines in his own way.
If this is indeed Tardy’s most impressive album to date, let us hope it also sets the standard for the future.
(1) A Great Cloud Of Witnesses; Blind Guides; Everything Happens To Me; I Swing Because I’m Happy; If Time Could Stand Still; It Is Finished; (2) Absolute Truth; The Message In The Miracle (50.11)
(1) Tardy (ts); Keith Brown (p); Alexander Claffy (b); Willie Jones III (d). New York, 2019. (2) Add Alex Norris (t).
WJ3 Records 1026