Gary Bartz – Anthology 1970-1977 (2004)

Gary Bartz
“Anthology”
2004 Soul Brother Records (CD SBPJ 23)
Made in England
Recordings from 1971 – 1977

1 Celestial Blues 7:35
2 Uhuru Sasa 6:47
3 Drinking Song 5:16
4 Dr. Follow’s Dance 2:39
5 I’ve Known Rivers 8:34
6 I Wanna Be Where You Are 7:14
7 Ju Ju Man 9:11
8 Sea Gypsy l 6:19
9 Gentle Smiles s 4:22
10 Music Is My Sanctuary 6:21
11 Carnaval de l’Espirit 5:55
12 My Funny Valentine 7:11

Single-artist compilations are a difficult thing. It can be hard to represent an artist’s trajectory faithfully and still produce a coherently listenable document, let alone please everyone in the process, especially if the subject in question is a jazz artist. Soul Brother Records deserves massive props for pulling this off with this Gary Bartz anthology, which presents highlights from his most inspired post-bop output of the 1970s. My introduction to Bartz was, like many people, via his work with the Mizell Brothers, but there was so much, much more to the man’s legacy. Soul Brother makes the smart move of presenting this material in roughly chronological order beginning with selections from the incredible two volumes of “Harlem Bush Music.” Spiritual, socially-conscious, adventurous and above all soulful, this stuff soars and the vocals of Andy Bey qualify as one of the best-kept secrets of the universe.

Nobody seems to have passed through the ranks of Miles Davis’ various ensembles and come out unchanged but Bartz seemed to have been doing his own thing when Miles picked him up for a brief stint that yielded the semi-live album “Live Evil” (more complete material from those concerts appearing on 2005’s “Cellar Door” release). But performing with Davis’ post-Bitches Brew lineup (at the time including Airto on percussion, Keith Jarrett on electric piano, and McLaughlin still on guitar) may have inspired Bartz to stretch out even further in his work as a bandleader. But Bartz has plenty of other credits under his belt as a sideman, most prominently with McCoy Tyner but he’s also recorded with Woodie Shaw, Pharoah Sanders, and Charles Mingus.

The playing on the tune “Drinking Song”, the oldest piece on this collection, is simply fierce as the whole band raises your consciousness out of your bohemian apathy. Bartz pays homage to Langston Hughes with the track “I’ve Known Rivers” off the live record of the same name. Four entire tracks from the Mizell collaborations (the records “The Shadow Do” and “Music Is My Sanctuary”) may be a little disproportional considering that stuff already has wider exposure, but you won’t hear me complaining because it does indeed flow very nicely. Wrapping up the set with a sultry, melancholic reading of “My Funny Valentine” with vocalist Syreeta is a very nice finishing touch to this very satisfactory anthology. It’s also good to know that this disc apparently has Gary’s own approval as he wrote short note about the release and about music as a healing force to be included in the booklet.

I am so happy listening to this collection that I am planning on a mini-flood of Gary Bartz in the weeks to come, so prepare yourselves and meanwhile enjoy this teaser to whet your musical appetite.

Bartz
Bartz

 

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Gato Barbieri – El Pampero (1971)

Jorge Ben needs a Jorge Break. And so I bring you…


Gato Barbieri
“El Pampero”
Released 1971 as Flyind Dutchman FD-10151

This reissues 2002 BMG France / RCA Victor Gold Series

1. El Pampero (Gato Barbieri)
2. Mi Buenos Aires Querido (Carlos Gardel – Alfredo Lepera)
3. Brasil (Aldo Cabral – Benedicto Lacerda)
4. El Arriero (Atahualpa Yupanqui)
5. El Gato (Oliver Nelson)

Tracks 1 through 4 recorded on June 18, 1971 at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland

Personnel: Lonnie Liston Smith, piano; Chuck Rainey, electric bass; Bernard Purdie, drums; Sonny Morgan, conga; Nana Vasconcelos, percussion, berimbau; Gato Barbieri, saxophone, vocal on track 4.

Track 5 recorded in May, 1972 at RCA Studios, NYC. Personnel includes:
Romeo Pengue, alto flute, English horn; Phil Bodner, flute, alto flute; Danny Bank, bass clarinet; Oliver Nelson, alto saxophone, conductor, arranger; Hank Jones, piano; David Spinozza, guitar; Ron Carter, bass; Bernard Purdie, drums; Airto Moreira, percussion.

Phenomenal live set from Gato Barbieri at the peak of his feline prowess and with an amazing ensemble that was essentially a pick-up gig for most of them. But not just any pick-up band, no siree! Bernand “Pretty” Purdie on skins along with Chuck Rainey on bass (playing the festival with Aretha Franklin and King Curtis) aren’t exactly some music-school hacks you pick up at the bus station on the way to the show. Lonnie Liston Smith and the one and only Nana Vasconcelos were the only regular band members on stage with Gato, and both give it everything they’ve got. In spite of being improvised by the seat-of-their-pants, the only time I notice the Purdie/Rainey rhythm section lag, if not quite falter, is in the beginning section of Brasil where Rainey comes in a measure behind Pretty Purdie’s triumphant drum entrance about three minutes in. Other than that, they sound like they had all been playing together for years. The ambient place-making of “Mi Buenos Aires Querido” is as evocative a piece as Gato ever played. But the highlight for me is “El Ariero”, a song by the very influential Argentinian composer and writer Atahualp Yupanqui. Gato had also recorded in the studio and released it on the album “Fenix” earlier in the year, where I think it has a little more *power* or some similar descriptor, particularly the vocal, but this version has a nice spontaneous intensity to it. The last track, written by frequent collaborator Oliver Nelson, is a bonus cut to this CD, having appeared on a Flying Dutchman compilation of the same name (El Gato) where it was the sole original, unreleased track. This reissue does us the favor of placing it here, and saving us from looking at the awful front cover design of Barbieri turning into a cat, werewolf-style. The lineup is a considerably augmented ensemble which now includes Ron Carter on bass and Airto Moreira on percussion in place of Nana. A beautiful tune, particularly the double flute arrangements.

Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971)

Gato Barbieri
“Fenix”
Released 1971 on Flying Dutchman (FD 10158)

Having already established himself in the vanguard of free jazz (stints with Don Cherry, an appearance on the landmark ‘Liberation Music Orchestra’ from Charlie Haden / Carla Bley), Barbieri was producing some incredible work as a bandleader by the late 60s. For some reason this album feels like an appropriate “holiday season” album to me, whatever your particular cosmological inclinations might be. The album is really part of a series of a politically-engaged, Pan-American albums whose musical sensibilities were damn unique. Barbieri’s riffing rarely drifts from the fiercer side of a Coltrane / Pharoah orientation. It’s soulful, spiritual jazz, but also angry. With Lenny White on drums, Lonnie Liston Smith on keys, and Naná Vasconcelos on congas and berimbau (Naná was, and still is, the most capable and expressive player of this instrument), you really can’t go wrong with this record. One really interesting cut is the song ‘Falsa Baiana’, written as a samba by Geraldo Pereira and made famous by Roberto Silva (to be reinterpreted later as bossa nova by João Gilberto, and in MPB’s idiom by Gal Costa and others). Gato’s rendition here, one of the calmer tracks on the album, is almost unrecognizable as he circles around the chord changes and doesn’t play the main melody until three minutes into the song. This album is a treasure for the ears and the soul, enjoy!

The BMG France reissue has the original sleeve notes from Michael Cuscuna and some newer commentary in French that I can’t really read.

Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971) in 320kbs em pee three
Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO format
PART ONE //// PART TWO

Pharoah Sanders – Live at the East (2007) 320kbs

Photobucket
Pharoah Sanders – Live At The East

01 – Healing Song
02 – Memories Of J.W. Coltrane
03 – Lumkili

Pharoah Sanders – tenor sax
Harold Vic – tenor sax, voices
Marvin Peterson – trumpet
Carlos Garnett – flute, voices
Joseph Bonner – piano, harmonium
Stanley Clarke – bass
Cecil McBee – bass
Norman Connors – drums
Lawrence Killian – conga drums, bailophone
Billy Hart – drums

Recorded: 1971 Live at ‘The East’, NYC

Taken from the Japanese CD: UCCI-9133

I woke up in another hemisphere
And you were gone.
I had no address,
No telephone
No family
No identity.
I spent the mornings sleeping in and the afternoons
Walking broken sidewalks in the unbelievable heat and light
Reacquainting myself with exile
Circumspectly watching the tourists, trying not to feel like one
Stranger
Climb the hills of the old city, a never-ending conversation in my skull
Like when I would hike in the mountains alone
Except, here, I was surrounded by thousands of people
Strangers
I woke up in a another month
And you still weren´t there
But there was a telephone now
And almost a place to live, to call home, though it was getting hard to find.
I was surrounded by beautiful music, beautiful bodies
Dancing beautifully and naturally as this language I can barely speak
My ears vibrate with a quiet joy but bittersweet
As I walk down the broken sidewalks to my temporary bed
To riotous American Soul Music inside my head, reminding me of
The only dance partner who really meant much
A trumpet riffing ‘Camp Town Races’ makes me grin in the new moon’s half-light
I knew at that moment that I was in need of a Healing Song
And I did not, not yet, know just how deep that need can ache.