about us

Leading Astral Project is Tony Dagradi performing on both tenor and soprano saxophones. With his stunning technique and singular tone, he brings emotional urgency to each solo. For over three decades he has made his home in New Orleans, performing on tenor and soprano sax with many of the Crescent City's most celebrated artists, including Ellis Marsalis, Allen Toussaint, James Booker, The Meters, Dr. John, James Black, Johnny Adams and Gatemouth Brown. An accomplished classical performer as well, he's often called upon to augment the woodwind section of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. His performing past also includes five years as a member of the internationally acclaimed Carla Bley band and appearances with Bobby McFerrin, Mose Allison and Nat Adderly. He also spent five years as featured soloist with the Carla Bley Band, during which time he toured Europe, Japan and North America. Since 1990 Dagradi has been a Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Loyola University in New Orleans where he maintains a large saxophone studio, teaches classes in improvisation, and directs various ensembles.

Steve Masakowski has long been regarded as one of the most awe-inspiring guitarists and composers in contemporary music. He plays unique seven-string guitars of his own design that are hand-made by New Orleans luthier Sal Giardina. Steve is a major voice whose extraordinary musicality has been welcomed in concert with such jazz greats as Woody Shaw, Carl Fontana, Dave Liebman, Jimmy Smith, Sam Rivers and, most recently, Dianne Reeves, Bennie Wallace and Rick Margitza. Among the awards and honors that he has garnered are two National Endowment For The Arts fellowships, several grants from The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and one from the Louisiana Division of The Arts. Steve"s own recordings include: "What It Was" (Blue Note), "Direct AXEcess" (Blue Note), "Mars" (Nebula), "Friends" (Nebula), "For Joe" (Compass) and Moon and Sand. His dynamic solo work can also be heard on recordings by Reeves, Mose Allison, Alvin "Red" Tyler and Margitza.

James Singleton is a conduit of pure energy who, to a large degree, defines the sound of Astral Project. His solid rhythmic concept and harmonic sense are the foundation of this innovative group's improvisational strength. James has performed in concert with such modern jazz musicians as John Abercrombie, John Scofield, Art Baron, Ellis Marsalis, Earl Turbinton and Eddie Harris. He has appeared with swing and traditional greats Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lionel Hampton, Arnette Cobb and Banu Gibson. His extensive recording credits include work with Chet Baker, Alvin "Red" Tyler, James Booker, Charlie Rich and Zachary Richard. James produced the Astral Project album "Elevado". He is also leader of the experimental group 3 Now 4, which has released a self-titled debut and the new "Book of Spells" (G.E.S.).

In his very personal approach to percussion, master drummer John Vidacovich combines elements of New Orleans' traditional rhythms with free techniques and mainstream sensibilities. He is at once a brilliant soloist and a highly sensitive accompanist with the ability to detect and quickly enhance even the most subtle change of direction. His command of dynamics, distinctive melodic accents and effervescent swing have brought him international recognition as the quintessential modern New Orleans drummer. His unique style and conviction has led to performances with jazz masters Joe Henderson, Donald Byrd, Kenny Baron, Eddie Harris, Nat Adderley, Joe Williams, Ray Anderson and Bennie Wallace, plus work with such Southern legends as Professor Longhair, James Booker and Mose Allison. Most recently, John has toured with the young guitarist Charlie Hunter. John's albums as a leader include "Banks Street" and "Mystery Street" (both Chebasco), and his new solo album, "Vidacovich."