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Tony Dagradi Trio
Live at the Columns,  Turnipseed Music CD TMCD.07, 1994 (62:00)

 Jasmine in the Garden District

Ahhh. This is a wonderful record. A beautiful live recording of a sensitive ensemble breathing together with a decade’s worth of shared musical past, with every subtlety of their performance documented in breathtaking relief. The trio are master craftsmen all, both in solo and ensemble playing. Listening to this, you can literally feel the weight of the years of study, experience and play shared by these men.

Four standards and four Dagradi originals move through a variety of different moods, but all share a loose-limbed New Orleans feel. Not surprising, since Dagradi, Singleton and Vidacovich are longtime Crescent City players, and all are members of the New Orleans-based improvisational ensemble Astral Project.

The sound is very open, very airy. Dagradi is free to explore without the confines of a chordal instrument like piano or guitar. The single exception is their reading of Body and Soul on which they’re joined by guitarist Steve Masakowski, himself a member of Astral Project. On all the tunes, but particularly the Dagradi originals, you can feel the band pushing gently at the borders of elegant restraint, but held in check, perhaps, by their hotel surroundings.

Don Turnipseed’s excellent recording merits its own praise. It is simply transparent, and must be absolutely spectacular on high-end systems.

To be honest, there is nothing ground breaking or truly extraordinary about this record. Its beauty is in it’s honesty and simplicity, and its ability to transport you to another place and time. Close your eyes, and you’re in the ballroom of an antebellum hotel in New Orleans’s Garden District with a tequila and grapefruit in your hand. In 1997, this is a most welcome find.–  Jason Staczek


Tony Dagradi, saxophones; James Singleton, bass; John Vidacovich, percussion; with Steve Masakowski, guitar.


Recorded and mastered by Don Turnipseed.

song titles

Meditations • Heart to Heart • Limbo Jazz • Urban Disturbance • New Day • Body and Soul • Fall Out • Blue Monk

of related interest

Available from
Turnipseed Music
4112 Bissonet Drive
Metairie, LA 70003

Copyright © 1997 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.