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Gregory Tardy: Abundance

On Abundance, his first recording for Palmetto, tenor saxophonist Gregory Tardy, a New Orleans native who has worked extensively with trumpeters Tom Harrell and Dave Douglas, strips away all frills from his playing, to focus on the music’s inner core.

From the album’s opener, “Plan B,” it sounds as if Tardy has Joe Henderson on his mind, specifically, the quizzical, philosophical Joe of the ’80s Village Vanguard recordings with Ron Carter and Al Foster. The Coltrane influence is also clearly in evidence, not just in facets of Tardy’s tone, but in the soulful peregrinations of pianist George Colligan, the relentless beat of bassist Sean Conly and Elvin Jones-influenced drummer Woody Williams.

Tardy’s compositions, like the whirlwind “Warring Spirits” and the sprawling, multilevel “Iconoclasm,” give nod to Wayne Shorter and the expressionistic, Coltrane-influenced Henderson of about 1970 (think Live at the Lighthouse or In Japan.) By contrast, Tardy renders the lone ballad, “The Very Thought of You,” in mostly traditional fashion, paying stately homage to the classic Ray Noble tune.

Originally Published