Alto and soprano saxophonist/composer Gary Bartz is an honors graduate of two of the most distinguished and demanding academies in jazz: the Universities of Art Blakey and Miles Davis. He'd also studied at Juilliard in New York and the Peabody Conservatory in his hometown of Baltimore. When Bartz (b. 1940) struck out on his own and formed his own band, Ntu Troop, and sought to increase his music's street credibility by placing it in a funky rhythmic context, the jazz critics, predictably, set up a hue and cry. But Bartz simply called what he played "American music" and did well with it, especially at European jazz festivals.
A quarter of a century later, while Bartz is playing superbly in a straight-ahead, strongly blues-oriented, post-Coltrane style, there is renewed interest in his earlier work. When Bartz and his colleagues (including Andy Bey, Stafford James, and a propulsive young drummer named Howard King) are at full throttle, that interest is repaid.
I Wanna Be Where You Are, Black Maybe, Bertha Baptist, Africans Unite, Teheran, Sifa Zote, Whasaname, Betcha by Golly, Dr. Follow's Dance, Standin' on the Corner, Sing Me a Song Today
with Andy Bey, Stafford James, Howard King, Hubert Eaves, Hector Centeno