Tardy says, “Music is an expression of the soul and I always try to speak through my horn. I once heard an older musician say ‘it is better to be felt than to be heard’. I never forgot that. That is my approach regardless of what form or style I am playing.”
Born into a musical family, Gregory Tardy began his musical career studying classical clarinet. In high school, Gregory excelled in music, winning many awards and scholarships. While studying with renowned clarinetists Russell Dagon and Jack Snavely, Tardy began preparing for a symphony career. Over time, he began to be asked to play saxophone, to fill in missing gaps in various high school and college ensembles. Although he never practiced the saxophone seriously, Tardy began getting calls to play local funk gigs in the Milwaukee area. At the prodding of his older brother, Tardy finally explored the music of John Coltrane, and determined to be a jazz musician.
His passion for the saxophone took over his studies and soon his clarinet was gathering dust. At this time, he moved to St. Louis and after a year of performing on the jazz and blues scene, he decided to move back to his birthplace, New Orleans, in order to focus his jazz studies even further. While in New Orleans, Tardy played with some of the local brass bands and also gigged with the Neville Brothers, a local reggae band and even a rap group. But he never stopped pursuing jazz. He had the opportunity to perform and learn from many local greats and was a member of bands led by Nicholas Payton, Jason and Ellis Marsalis.
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“Truly an awesome leader-performer and you’ll revel in his inventiveness and finesse” —Jazz & Blues Report
“Big sound, deep seated feel for the blues, and cerebral avante-garde chops.” —New York Magazine
“Tardy already has his own voice and is on track to help write the next chapter in jazz history.” —All About Jazz
“One of the bright hopes, Tardy sounds like a seeker, absolution and salvation in every solo.” —New York Times