Biography

[New Orleans]

 

BIO

TONY DAGRADI is an internationally recognized jazz performer, artist, composer, author and educator.

For over three decades he has made his home in New Orleans, performing on tenor and soprano saxophone with many of the Crescent City's most celebrated artists, including Ellis Marsalis, Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair, James Booker, The Meters, Dr. John, James Black, Johnny Adams and Gatemouth Brown. His performing past also includes five years as a member of the internationally acclaimed Carla Bley Band and appearances and recordings with Bobby McFerrin, Mose Allison and Nat Adderley.

Dagradi is most well known for his work with Astral Project, an adventurous quintet made up of top New Orleans players dedicated to playing cutting-edge improvisational music. In addition, for over twenty five years, he has been a Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Since 2015, Dagradi has been exploring the compelling visual possibilities of altered books. Choosing vintage and antiquarian texts, he carefully cuts through one page at a time to reveal existing images in a three dimensional collage or sculpture. The results allow the contents and imagery of long outdated material to be viewed in a manner that is both exciting and thought provoking. 

 

ARTIST STATEMENT:

As I begin a piece, I examine each book to get a feel for the content and, to a lesser degree, the placement of that content. Moving forward, I have several stategies which will allow me to expose images, ultimately bringing them together in a unifified composition.

In my first method of choice, I seal the edges of the book and begin cutting page by page, removing everything but the images that appeal to me. This can be very exciting as I never know what will appear next or how it will compliment the piece as a whole. In my mind, it is very similar to improvising with a jazz ensemble. Inevitably, during every performance each player interjects his or her own commentary. No two performances are ever the same and everyone must react to what is happening at the moment. Similary, as I cut through the pages of a book, I must react to whatever appears, choosing to keep or reject what presents itself. If continued to it's logical conclusion, all of the material is exactly where it has always been, but now can be viewed in a totally different way.

Another approach I take is selecting images from a book and placing them as I please to more finely control the composition. From a viewer's point of view, the end result is almost identical to that of the pure excavation process. Most of the pieces in my "Jazz" series and "Fantasy" series are assembled in this manner.

When a piece is completed, I coat exposed surface with an acrylic lacquer. This treatment adds a certain rigidity to the paper sculpture and serves to protect it from air and dust.

ARTIST CV:

Education
1988 - 90 MFA, Tulane University
1985 - 86 BM Loyola University
1970 - 72 Berklee College of Music

Employment History
1990 - present Profeessor of Saxophone Loyola University
1987 - 90 Instructor of Music Theory Tulane University
1987 - 88 Instructor of Saxophone Loyola University

Exhibitions
2017 'Open Call', Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans
2017 'Art of the Book', Seager/Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CA
2017 'Codex Book Fair & Symposium', Craneway Pavilion, Richmond CA

Performances
Berkshire Mtn, Great Barrington, MA
Berlin Jazzfest, Berlin, Germany
Bethlehem Musikfest, Bethlehem, PA
Brecon Jazz, Cardiff, Wales 
Chicago Jazz Fest, Chicago, IL
Clearwater Jazz Fest, Clearwater Beach, FL
Detroit Montreux Jazz Festival, Detroit, MI
Downtown Festival, Lafayette, LA
Festival Garonne , Toulouse, France 
Festival Int'l Louisianne, Lafayette, LA
Fiesta Tropicale, Hollywood, FL 
Firelfly Fest, Southbend, IN 
French Quarter Fest, New Orleans, LA 
High Sierra Music Fest , Quincy, CA 
Hot Springs Jazz Festival, Hot Springs, AR
Indy Jazz Fest, Indianapolis, IN 
Jazz Brevard, Brevard, NC 
Jazz in June, Norman, OK
Jazz In June, Oklahoma City, OK 
Jazz In The Grove Bay Springs, MS 
Jazz MU-Tazz Festival , Huntington, WV
Jazz At Woodstock, Woodstock, NY
JazzTage, Ingolstadt, Germany
June-teenth Festival, St. Louis, MO
Kansas City Jazz Internat'l Kansas City, MO 
Midtfyns Festival, Ringe, Denmark 
Monterey Jazz Festival , Monterey, CA 
Monttreaux , Switzerland
Nancy Jazz Pulsations, Nancy, France
N.O. Jazz and Heritage, New Orleans, LA 
North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague 
Oslo Jazz Festival, Oslo, Norway
Ravinia Festival, Chicago, IL 
Red Sea Jazz Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel 
Riverben Festival, Chattanooga, TN
Salt Lake City Jazz Fest, Salt Lake City, UT
Seaside Festival, Seaside, FL
Summer Arts Festival, Springfield, OH
Summer Fest, Ann Arbor, MI
Telluride Jazz Fest, Telluride, CO
Xavier University, New Orleans, LA
Performances - Clubs
Afterthought, Little Rock, AR
Bird of Paradise, Ann Arbror, MI 
Bear's Place, Bloomington, IN
Blue Note, New York, NY 
Blues Alley, Washington, DC 
Boulevard Café, Chicago, IL
Bourbon Street, Sao Paulo, Brazil 
Cafe Montmartre Madison, WI 
Chapulatepec, Denver, CO
Chelsea?s, Baton Rouge, LA
Cotton Club, Vancouver, BC 
Dakota Bar & Grill, St. Paul, MN 
El Chapultapec, Denver, CO 
Exit/Inn, Nashville, TN 
Firefly, Ann Arbor
Fly Me To The Moon, Telluride, CO 
Funky Butt, New Orleans, LA
Grant Street, Lafayette, LA
Green Mill, Chicago, IL 
House of Blues, NewOrleans, LA
Howlin' Wolf, New Orleans, LA
Iron Post, Urbana, IL
Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA 
Jazz Factory, Louisville, KY
Jazz House Copenhagen, Denmark. 
Jazz Kitchen Indianapolis, IN 
Le Chat Noir, New Orleans, LA
Maple Leaf, New Orleans, LA
Mercury, Austin, TX
Ortlieb's Jazzhaus, Philadelphia
Praline Connection, New Orleans, LA
Proud Larry's, Oxford, MS
Rosy's , New Orleans, LA
Ryles Jazz Club, Boston, MA 
Sambuca Jazz Café, Dallas, TX 
Sculler's, Boston, MA 
Snake & Weasel Portland, OR 
Sweetwater Mill Valley, CA
Snug Harbor, New Orleans, LA
Tipitina's, New Orleans, LA
Trilogy, Boulder, CO 
Yoshi's, Oakland, CA
Young Avenue Deli, Memphis, TN
307 Club, Lafayette, LA 

Publications - Books
Sax Solos Over Modal Classics JazzBooks.com, 2016
Sax Solos Over Jazz Standards JazzBooks.com, 2012 
Essential Scale Studies for Improvisation Kendor Music, Inc., 2000

Performances as a sideman 
Mose Allison
Nat Adderley
Archie Bell 
Tony Bennett 
Better Than Ezra
Brian Blade
James Booker 
Donald Byrd 
Carla Bley
Norman Connors
Hilario Duran 
Dr. John 
Snooks Eaglin
Pete Fountain 
Four Tops 
Marvin Gaye 
Scott Goudeau 
Eddie Harris
Isaac Hayes 
Al Hirt
Jasmine 
Gladys Knight
Luther Kent 
Stephanie Jordan
Dave Liebman 
Ellis Marsalis 
Bobby McFerrin
Ramsey McLean 
Meters 
Stanton Moore 
George Porter
Bobby Previte
ProfessorLonghair
Tommy Ridgely 
Sam and Dave
Jamil Sharif
Larry Sieberth
Synthesis 2000
Temptations 
Irma Thomas
Alan Toussaint
John Vidacovich 
Cedar Walton
Woodenhead 

Publications - Journal Articles
'Master Class', DownBeat, February 2012
'Gary Campbell's Tenor Solo On Spanglish? - Jazz Player, April 1995
'Greg Yasinitsky's Solo On a Mode For Joe?, Jazz Player, Feb1995
'Jeff Holmes - Parker House Stomp?, Jazz Player, Dec/Jan. 1994
'Lisa's Da Bossa - Miles Osland', Jazz Player, Oct/Nov. 1994
'Shorty - Jon Metzger's Vibraphone Solo', Jazz Player, Aug1994
'Morning Star' - Tony Dagradi, Jazz Player, June 1994
'Down In Front' - David Dempsey's Tenor solo, Jazz Player, April 1994
'P's Rough House' - Greg Abate's Alto Solo, Jazz Player, Feb 1994
'Longhorn' _ Mel Martin's Tenor Solo, Jazz Player, Dec. 1993
'Reharmonization Techniques', Saxophone Journal, Jan/Feb 1995
'Back to Basics' - Part II, Saxophone Journal, Sept/Oct 1994
'Back to Basics' - Part I, Saxophone Journal, May 1994
'Two & Three Part Writing', Part II, Saxophone Journal, Jan/Feb 1994
'Two & Three Part Writing', Part I, Saxophone Journal, Sept/Oct. 1993
'Amazing Grace', Saxophone Journal, May 1993
'The Ellington Effect', Part II, Saxophone Journal, Jan/Feb 1993
'The Ellington Effect', Part I, Saxophone Journal, Sept/Oct 1992
'Linear Compositional Styles of Charlie Parker', Saxophone Journal, May 1992
'Linear Compositional Styles of Jazz Artists' Saxophone Journal, Jan/Feb 1992

Grants and Fellowships
RosaMary Foundation Distinguished Professor, Loyola University, 2014-19
Marquette Fellowship, Loyola U., 2015
Artist Fellowship, Louisiana DOA, 2012
Marquette Fellowship, Loyola U., 2005
Artist Fellowship, Louisiana DOA, 2000
Mini Grant, Louisiana DOA, 1997
Composition Fellowship, Musicians for Music, 1986
Artist Grant, N. O. Jazz and Heritage, 1986
Jazz Performance, Nat. Endowment for the Arts, 1984
New Works Fellowship, Contemporary Arts Center, 1984
Composition Fellowship, Musicians for Music, 1984
Jazz Composition, Nat. Endowment for the Arts 1981
Jazz Performance, Nat. Endowment for the Arts 1981

Honors, Awards, Distinctions
'Best Saxophonist', Offbeat, 2007
'Best Cont. Jazz Group', Offbeat, 2001
'Best Cont. Jazz Group?, Big Easy, 1999
'Recording of the Year?, Big Easy, 1999
'Best Saxophonist', Offbeat, 1997
'Best Cont. Jazz Group', Offbeat, 1997
'Best Recording', Offbeat, 1997
'Best Saxophonist', Offbeat, 1996
'Best Cont. Jazz Group', Offbeat, 1996
'Best Saxophonist', Offbeat, 1995
'Best Cont. Jazz Group', Offbeat, 1995
'Best Saxophonist', Offbeat, 1994
'Best Cont. Jazz Group', Offbeat, 1994
'Record of the Year', Big Easy, 1994
'Best Cont. Jazz Group' Cognac 1992
'Best Cont. Jazz Group', Big Easy, 1992

Compositions  
Above The Dark, 2005
Angel?s Song, 2005
Astral Elevado , 1997
Big Tees, 2009
Blue Streak, 2005
The Call, 1988
Cannonball, 2005
Child's Play, 1988
The Chosen One, 2000
Clearly, 2000
Cobalt Dreams, 2005
Code Blue, 1990
Dancin?, 1998
Day Glow, 2000
Déjà Vu, 1998
Delicately, 2003
Down Time, 2000
Don't Think , 2000
Double Helix, 2005
Dream's Of Love, 1988
Duplicity, 1982
Fallen Angels, 2005
Fall Out, 1997
Forever Yours, 2000
Forgotten Worlds, 1998
Free Fall 2012 
Gemini Rising , 1987
Give and Take, 1998
Gloryland 1982
Heart of the Matter, 2000
Heart to Heart, 1982
Hymn, 2000
Images, 1990
Indian Folk Song, 1995
Juanita, 1980
Lavender Sleep, 2005
Lunar Eclipse, 1982
Mandela, 1998
Miles,1995
Morning Star, 1988
Mother-Lode, 2000
Movie Music, 1998
Night Scenes, 2000
No Goodbyes, 1997
Nose Dive, 997
Nowhere To Hide, 2003
Oasis, 1980
O.F.O., 1997
Oneness, 1995
Parading, 1988
Prayer, 1988
Protecting Circle,1999
Radiation, 1980
Second Thoughts, 2003
Secret Sky, 2009
Secrets, 2000
Shimmer 2012
Shooting Star, 1998
Smoke and Mirrors, 1999
Spherical, 2000
South By Southwest, 2000
Supersonic Hawk, 1995
Sweet Faced Lie, 2000
Sweet Remembrance,1987
Tango, 2000
Too Close For Comfort 2002
Too Soon to Tell, 1997
Two Colors, 1982
Urban Disturbance, 1980
Waltz for Joan , 2000
When Your Heart Asks, 1990
Whirl, 1982
The Whole Truth, 1997
X-Ray Vision, 2000
Yeah You Right, 2000


Selected Recordings
Oneness - Tony Dagradi, Astral Music 2016001 ?Gemini Rising - Tony Dagradi , Astral Music 2014001
Parading, Tony Dagradi Trio, Mirliton, 0203
Live At The Columns - Tony Dagradi Trio, Turnipseed, TMCD .07
Images From The Floating World - Tony Dagradi Trio, Core. 9.00727 O 
Dreams Of Love - Tony Dagradi, Rounder 2071
Sweet Remembrance - Tony Dagradi, Gramavision 8707
Lunar Eclipse - Tony Dagradi, Gramavision 8203
Oasis - Tony Dagradi, Gramavision 8001
Blue Streak - Astral Project
Live in New Orleans - Astral Project
The Legend of Cowboy Bill - Astral Project
Big Shot - Astral Project
Voodoo Bop - Astral Project, Compass Records 7 4628 2
Elevado - Astral Project, Compass Records.
Astral Project, New Orleans - Astral Project
My Backyard - Mose Alison, Blue Note CDP 7 938402.
A Night At Snug Harbor - Ellis Marsalis, Somethin? Else CJ32-5514
Dreams Realized - Allyn Robinson, Louisiana Entertainment
I Hate To Sing - Carla Bley, Watt/ECM 12 1/2
Live In San Francisco - Carla Bley, Watt/ECM 12
Social Studies - Carla Bley, Watt 11.
Mortelle Randonee - Carla Bley, Mercury 812 097-1
Crawfish Fiesta - Professor Longhair, Alligator 4718
The Last Mardi Gras - Professor Longhair, Atlantic/Deluxe SD2-4001
Gate Swings - Gatemouth Brown, Verve,314 537 617-2.
American Music, Texas Style - Gatemouth Brown, Blue Thumb VERCD58
A Tribute To Lena Horne - Stephanie Jordan, Vige Music
Sincerely Yours - Francis Dey, Infrared Music
Weather The Storm - Bobby Campo
Echoes of New Orleans - Al Grey, Progressive Records
The Way It Is - Snooks Eaglin, Money Pit 1111
Vidacovich - John Vidacovich, Chebasco
Banks Street - John Vidacovich, Chebasco 31496-2 RC1496
Cloud Nine - Michael Pellera, Pajacis, PAJ-001 
Son of Sky - Michael Pellera, Pajacis, PAJ-002
How Does Your Garden Grow - Better Than Ezra, Electra Records
Friction Baby - Better Than Ezra - Electra Records
Rosealia - Better Than Ezra, Swell Records 66065-2 
A Time For Love - Phillip Manuel, AFO
Heart To Heart - Phillip Manuel, Turnipseed TMCD10
Running Pardners - George Porter, Rounder
Since The Blues Began - Tommy Ridgely, Black Top, CD BT-1115
Good Morning Heartache - Johnny Adams, Rounder CD2125
The Verdict - Johnny Adams, Rounder CD 2135
Storyville - Robbie Robertson
Cubanismo - Cubanismo, Hann/Rykodisc HNCD 1411
A Creole Mass - Wardell Quezergue
Music of Jay Weigel - Jay Weigel, Troy 099
Live At The House Of Blues - Solomon Burke, Black Top BT-1108
The New New Orleans Music, Rounder 2066
River of My Own - Denise Mangiardi, Crow Hill ChP-011298
Mantis - Al Arthur, DM102000
The Longview - Ramsey McLean, Prescription 4
History's Made Every Moment - Ramsey McLean, Prescription 1
The Secret Life Of Children - Scott Goudeau, Broken JR 62185
Stereo Lounge - Scott Goudeau, Broken JR 31586
The Promise - Scott Goudeau, Broken BR 1288
Foreign Affairs - Jasmine/Sounds Of Brazil, Broken JR 1086
Singers - Jasmine/Sounds Of Brazil, Broken JR 3685
Shadowlove - Larry Sieberth, Broken JR 3785
I Migliori - Larry Sieberth, Chromatose.
Woodenhead Live - Woodenhead, Broken JR 3585
Music From The Big Tomato - Ron Cuccia, Oblique PB002
Gramavision 10th Anniversary - Sampler, Gramavision, R279461
WWOZ on CD - The Sounds of New Orleans II