New Orleans reed-person Tony Dagradi has been a steady fixture for years in the many ensembles of composer/bandleader Carla Bley, and has also played with Mose Allison. He plays with a fleet, robust tone reminiscent of Johnny Griffin, with a nifty balance of New Orleans R&B inflection, edgy, "out" playing (recalling Dewey Redman at his best), and warm, trad-bop balladry. "Gator Bait" is a bluesy, quirky bop tune, recalling the funky side of Lou Donaldson. "O.F.O." is a western-flavored (as in, "give me a home where the buffalo roam...") ballad tribute to Ornette Coleman. The band, which shares the composing duties, is as versatile and varied as Dagradi. Torkanowsky is especially fine, melding N.O. R&B tinges with the influences of Red Garland and Horace Silver, as well as "out" touches. Twelve tunes in 65 minutes - a bargain for mainstream jazz fans who like a spicy jazz gumbo.
Artist / Group Name:Astral Project
Record Label:Compass Records
Musicians:Tony Dagradi (sax) David Torkanowsky (piano) Steve Masakowsi (guitar) James Singelton (bass) Johnny Vidacovich (drums) Michael Pellera (piano)