Every now and then you find a recording that deserves to be a classic. It appears that saxophonist Gregory Tardy knows what makes a great jazz recording. This session reaches far, but isn’t too far out. This is intellectual jazz, so expand your mind and sharpen your listening skills.
"Plan B" is a true jazz jam session in the purest sense of the word. The performances are strong and filled with the wisdom of days gone by. Sean Conly and Tardy open this piece rather nicely. "Talkative Tucker" has Tardy vigorously at work throughout, with a nice and easy balance in pianist George Colligan. Tardy speaks with conviction on this track. Romance is in the air as they turn up the quiet in "The Very Thought of You." Again the interplay between Tardy and Colligan is dynamic, but not over-dramatic. They are musical kindreds and that makes it such great ear candy.
The band digs deep in "Warring Spirits." This is as powerful as any classical piece as it divides into three separate phases. Woody Williams is responsible for much of that with his clever use of rhythm. If spirituality was the goal, they reached it. This should probably be the signature track of the entire CD.
After a short, but beautiful "Bata Interlude," comes "Nene’s Way" which showcases a really powerful solo by Colligan. The mysterious "Iconoclasm" boasts some hard hitting drum work by Williams while Tardy hits the soprano sax in a joyful frenzy. Colligan is as energetic as ever building a musical climax before Tardy returns calmly for his next display of wizardry.
The rapidly moving "Nebulosity" is almost scientific as all involved perform this experiment with careful calculation. Williams supports Tardy in a fiery display of musicianship before Colligan calms the storm a bit, or does he? He manages to chime in with a feisty solo as well.
Conly joins Tardy for an into to the pensive "Educated Guesswork." Colligan brings on some very sophisticated keystrokes over Conly’s classy rhythm structure. This is mastery, make no mistake.
Perhaps the way to really describe what’s here is to say this CD/session could have made the Columbia Masters list, Atlantic’s finest, and Blue Note would have had to consider this a "Limited Edition." It should be considered one of the 100 definitive jazz recordings in future years. Make room everyone and welcome Mr. Tardy and company.