While still playing with Art Blakey and Max Roach, alto saxophonist Gary Bartz (1940) debuted as a leader with Libra (june 1967). His style was still derivative of bebop but his compositions were already first-rate, and
the 24-minute suite Another Earth for a sextet featuring trumpeter Charles Tolliver, tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, pianist Stanley Cowell and bassist Reggie Workman, off Another Earth (june 1968), proved it.
After Home (march 1969), Bartz replaced Wayne Shorter in Miles Davis'
group. Influenced by Davis as well as by John Coltrane and by rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, Bartz formed NTU Troop in 1970 to play a high-energy fusion of
soul, funk, jazz and rock on
Harlem Bush Music - Taifa (november 1970), ruined by Andy Bey's vocals (and lyrics),
Juju Street Songs (october 1972), that flirted with soul music between
the mildly exotic Teheran and the Coltrane-ian Sifa Zote,
Follow The Medicine Man (october 1972), with
the funk workout Dr Follow's Dance,
the live I've Known Rivers And Other Bodies (july 1973),
with pianist Hubert Eaves replacing Bey and the
Afro-spiritual hymns Ju Ju Man and I've Known Rivers
ruined by Bartz's own vocals,
and Singerella - A Ghetto Fairy Tale (february 1974), with Bartz also playing synthesizer.
After Altissimo (july 1974), a four-sax session with
Lee Konitz, Jackie McLean and Charlie Mariano,
Bartz devoted himself to electronic funk, starting with
The Shadow Do (1975) and Music Is My Sanctuary (1977).
His albums became more and more trivial. So much so that the mediocre
West 42nd Street (march 1990) was hailed as an artistic rebirth.
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