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  Gary Bartz
 

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Click below for a Gary Bartz sample:

Celestial Blues

Music Is My Sanctuary  

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Gary Bartz was one of many jazz artists to wade in the commercial waters of fusion, earning the wrath of purists but gaining a larger audience courtesy of the rare groove classics "Music Is My Sanctuary" and "Celestial Blues."

Early stints with Art Blakey and Max Roach led to him working with Miles Davis, earning critical raves for his work on Miles' Live-Evil.  In the early 70s he formed the Ntu Troop and cut the sought-after albums Uhuru and Taifa, notable for the vocal gymnastics of Andy Bey and strong spiritual anthems on the level of "I've Known Rivers" and "Africans Unite."  He also made extensive appearances on Norman Connors' albums from the early and mid 70s. . 1975's Shadow Do marked the beginning of his association with the famed Mizell brothers, who spearheaded the r&b success of Donald Byrd and Bobbi Humphrey.

A change of labels to Capitol only confirmed Bartz's break from straight jazz, especially when he recorded Coltrane's "Giant Steps" in a disco style.   With the Mizells at the controls, Sanctuary became a fusion classic, standing as one of the best Mizell projects of the late 70s despite Bartz's ill-advised forays into singing.  He returned to traditional jazz on There Goes the Neighborhood, displaying chops that many assumed he's lost long ago.

Gary Bartz's Deepest Grooves

Libra (Milestone, 1968)
Initial solo offering finds him working the spiritual soulful jazz vein with members of the old Max Roach group.  

Another Earth (Milestone, 1969)

Taifa (Prestige, 1970)
The formal debut of the Ntu Troop, which was Andy Bey on vocals and occasional keys, Hubert Eaves on piano, bassist Stafford James and Howard King on drums.

Uhuru (Prestige, 1971)

Juju Street Songs (Prestige, 1972)

I've Known Rivers and Other Bodies (Prestige, 1973)
A live recording of a Montreaux Jazz Festival concert, the title song is a classic that was covered by Courtney Pine in the late 90s with Cassandra Wilson on vocals.

Singerella: A Ghetto Fairy Tale (Prestige, 1973)

Shadow Do (Prestige, 1975)

Juju Man (Capitol, 1976)
Surprise appearance from Syreeta on "My Funny Valentine."

Music Is My Sanctuary (Capitol, 1977)
The very definition of the popularized "Capitol rare" sound now enshrined on a series of compilation discs.  "Carnaval de l'Espirit" is one of the most joyous jazz dance grooves of the era. 

Love Song  (Capitol, 1978)

There Goes the Neighborhood (Candid, 1990)
A triumphant return to classic jazz playing.  Shocked many people at the time of its release, but Bartz has worked in a similar style in the ensuing years.

Anthology (Soul Brother, 2005)
Good collection of choice Bartz cuts.  With "Gentle Smiles," "Music Is My Sanctuary," "Carnaval de l'Espirit" and the more obscure "Sea Gypsy."

 

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