Gregory Tardy was born in New Orleans in 1966. He has played with the likes of Elvin Jones, Ravi Coltrane, Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau. Gregory now teaches at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville having spent decades on the New York scene.
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 offers. 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 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 listened to the duo recording of John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk playing “Monk’s Mood”, and then immediately determined to be a jazz musician.
In 1992, he started playing with the legendary drummer, Elvin Jones, and he recorded his first CD, Crazy Love. As a sought after sideman he has played with many prominent jazz artists including: Andrew Hill, Tom Harrell, Dave Douglas, Wynton Marsalis, Jay McShann, Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove, Steve Coleman, Betty Carter, Don Byron, Bill Frisell, Rashied Ali, Ellis Marsalis, Brian Lynch, John Patitucci, and many more. He has also performed and/or recorded along with many other notable saxophonists, such as Joe Lovano, Mark Turner, Chris Potter, Dewey Redman, Ravi Coltrane, and others. In more recent years, Tardy has gone full circle, by focusing on his clarinets more, using them on recordings by Tom Harrell, Ohad Talmor/Steve Swallow, Stefan Harris, Chris Potter and Andrew Hill.
His performance schedule has taken him all over the world, playing at all of the major jazz festivals and on some of the biggest stages in jazz. As a sideman, he has been featured on several Downbeat Albums of the Year and also several Grammy nominated recordings; including a Grammy winning CD with Brian Lynch in 2006. He also has recorded fourteen CDs under his own name featuring his unique compositions, blending his love of traditional jazz with a more modern seeking style. His latest release “Chasing After The Wind” was released in the fall of 2016.