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Gregory Tardy
Impulse! CD IMPD-256, 1998

Dipity doo dah

Ben Ohmart, 14 February 2001

The piano. The drums. The tenny sax. When you first plug in Tardy's new CD, you might think you've stepped right into your granddaddy's woodshed to find his original 50s records spinning, when stereo was first born. Though, I have a hard time finding the bass line. I'm sure it's there, directing traffic, but to my conscious ear, I wish it were a bit more "with it."

The heated horns of "Blues to Professor Pickens" make it hard to pick out who's leading, a delightfully number of sounds and joint-jumpin' fun. Written for the great Chicago pianist Willie Pickens, this one's so cool, it hurts.

"JL's Wish" is the real blues here. Don't listen if you broke up with anyone or are contemplating suicide. The Aaron Goldberg piano tinkling is quite beautiful, if sad, and certainly inspired.

"Ah-ite," aside from having one of the best titles around - well, it swings. And at over 7 minutes, it's just the right length that I can really get into it. Complete with rolling drum solo. The kind your mama told you about. Actually, drummer Eric Harland and lead man Tardy are the only constants throughout this album. No one else is on every track. Nothing wrong with that. Besides, this is probably my favorite track on the album. Since I'm not into suicide.

Romance your woman with the gorgeous "Prisoner of Love." Bake some pasta and put this track on repeat in the background. You just might get some.

The subtle Goldberg piano opening the title track "Serendipity" gives this a classic feel. Written by Tardy himself, I was surprised to find this a new composition. His method of composing is certainly galvanized in the best tradition of old world jazz, giving a subdued but excited echo to the Coltrane legacy.

So, you get nine meaty tracks, most at epic lengths, winding up with a 54 minute total which is pretty damn good. I think this one is worth getting.

performers  Gregory Tardy, tenor saxophone; Tom Harrell or Russell Gunn, trumpet; Mulgrew Miller or Aaron Goldberg, piano; Reginald Veal, bass; Eric Harland, drums

production  Produced by Steven Schenfeld; recorded and mixed by Joe Ferla.

songs  Forgiveness · Blues to Professor Pickens · JL's Wish · Ah-ite · Prisoner of Love · The Fractar Question · Whenever, Wherever, Whatever · Serendipity · Ask Me Now

Copyright © 2001 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.