ADRIAN YOUNGE AND ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMEDGary Bartz JID 006Jazz Is Dead

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Jazz Is Dead’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge Collaborate with Gary Bartz: Pioneering Figure of
Progressive Black Music, Icon to Generations
of Artists and DJs Across Every Genre

Gary Bartz JID 006 Available April 2, 2021 via Jazz Is Dead

The shadow that Gary Bartz casts over the last six decades of progressive Black music, and his continued dedication to same, makes him a logical and very welcome contributor to the Jazz Is Dead label. An alto saxophonist steeped in the history and tradition of his instrument who is also restlessly experimental and not prone to purism of any kind, he enjoys both the respect and admiration of his peers and the hero worship of several generations after him – including Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, which inevitably led to Gary Bartz JID 006.
 
A look at his body of work reveals dalliances with bebop, hard bop, free jazz, spiritual jazz, soul jazz, jazz-funk, fusion and acid jazz, all while resolutely remaining unmistakably Gary Bartz. There’s early work with Eric Dolphy and McCoy Tyner in Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop, work with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, a stint in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and also one with Miles. There’s his groundbreaking and highly influential Ntu Troop albums of the early ‘70s and his jazz-funk work including two classic albums with the Mizell Brothers, one of which supplied A Tribe Called Quest with a sample that was smooth like butter. And while on the subject of samples, the Bartz catalog has provided hip-hop and other genres with a rich source of them, and artists who have gone to his well when producing beats also include Black Sheep, Jurassic 5, Casual, RPM, Warren G, Photek, Statik Selektah, Chi-Ali, 3rd Bass, Showbiz, Z-Trip, Young Disciples, and many others.
 
The socio-political content of much of Bartz’s work, particularly during the early ‘70s, is another factor that has captured the attention of and influenced many. He was wide awake to the pressing issues of his day, which sadly haven’t changed much in a half-century—long before the term “woke” was ever coined—which adds continued relevance and resonance to albums like the two Harlem Bush Music LPs. Speaking his mind and expressing thoughts and feelings lyrically and vocally were a consistent aspect of his work during this era, but even with all this there’s always still a space within Gary’s oeuvre for the celebration of simple and beautiful basic truths.
 
“Working with Gary Bartz epitomizes the ethos behind Jazz Is Dead,” says Younge. “He’s a luminary that has contributed so much to music culture, for decades.  His musical ability is expanding with age and we’re honored to be a part of his world.”
 
“Day By Day” brings Bartz full circle by placing him in a more modern context which he contributed to creating in the first place. It takes certain sonic cues from Muhammad’s old group, A Tribe Called Quest, while also calling to mind neo-soul a little bit. But the icing on the cake is the unexpected and gorgeous vocal chorus which is like the sun coming out and which once again harks back to an element familiar to Mizell fans.
 
With its propulsive bassline steadily prodding the track along, “The Message” is strongly rooted in classic ‘70s modal jazz and serves as the spiritual and emotional centerpiece of the album. The instrumental interplay and textures would have been perfectly at home on the Black Jazz label even though there’s also a certain almost intangible postmodern, 21st century approach to that style, perfectly in keeping with Bartz’s well-known tendency to look forward, not backwards.
 
The main thrust of “Black And Brown” is an immersion in classic jazz-funk, a short blast of vintage fusion riffing that ultimately feels like one of those classic extended ‘70s jams condensed down to its most intense just-under-three-minutes with Bartz blowing freely over very familiar musical territory and sounding like he’s having an amazing time doing it. 
 
If “Spiritual Ideation” calls anything immediately to mind, it’s the overall vibe and atmosphere of the compositions on 1975’s classic Mizell-produced The Shadow Do album. Its chords seem to move along in similar fashion to a few of the tracks on that album, but they’re transposed on to what has quickly become the JID signature sound. Bartz’s tone and phrasing is instantly recognizable and sits on top of the Younge/Muhammad-produced backing as snugly as it did on the Mizells’ groove 45 years ago.
 
Bartz brought his historically busy touring and recording schedule into the new millennium, re-establishing his deep jazz credentials even as another generation of DJs and hip-hop producers discovered the untold riches contained in his back catalog. He remains spry, fit and energetic at age 80 and his new collaboration with Jazz Is Dead’s Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad is the glorious proof. This is what Gary Bartz brings to this Jazz Is Dead collaboration, and as can be expected, his questing spirit fits the Jazz Is Dead style like a glove and has produced an album that’s a cutting-edge addition to his immense canon as he effortlessly interfaces with the next generation. 
 
 
Gary Bartz JID 006 · Gary Bartz, Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge
Jazz Is Dead | Available April 2, 2021
 
For more information on Jazz is Dead, please visit: JazzIsDead.co|Instagram


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Bio:
The shadow that Gary Bartz casts over the last six decades of progressive Black music, and his continued dedication to same, makes him a logical and very welcome contributor to the Jazz Is Dead series. An alto saxophonist steeped in the history and tradition of his instrument who is also restlessly experimental and not prone to purism of any kind, he enjoys both the respect and admiration of his peers and the hero worship of several generations after him. A look at his body of work reveals dalliances with bebop, hard bop, free jazz, spiritual jazz, soul jazz, jazz-funk, fusion and acid jazz, all while resolutely remaining unmistakably Gary Bartz. There’s early work with Eric Dolphy and McCoy Tyner in Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop, work with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, a stint in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and also one with Miles. There’s his groundbreaking and highly influential Ntu Troop albums of the early 70s and his jazz-funk work including two classic albums with the Mizell Brothers, one of which supplied A Tribe Called Quest with a sample that was smooth like butter. And while on the subject of samples, the Bartz catalog has provided hip-hop and other genres with a rich source of them, and artists who have gone to his well when producing beats also include Black Sheep, Jurassic 5, Casual, RPM, Warren G, Photek, Statik Selektah, Chi-Ali, 3rd Bass, Showbiz, Z-Trip, Young Disciples, and many others.


The socio-political content of much of Gary’s work, particularly during the early 70s, is another factor that has captured the attention of and influenced many. He was wide awake to the pressing issues of his day, which sadly haven’t changed much in a half-century, long before the term “woke” was ever coined, and this adds continued relevance and resonance to albums like the two Harlem Bush Music LPs on which he incorporates vocals, spoken and sung, by himself and by the great Andy Bey. Speaking his mind and expressing thoughts and feelings lyrically and vocally were a consistent aspect of his work during this era, allowing him to make explicit the sentiments behind his earlier classic instrumental compositions such as “Libra,” “Eastern Blues,” “Freedom One Day” and the epic “Another Earth.” But even with all this there’s always still a space within Gary’s oeuvre for the celebration of simple and beautiful basic truths, as demonstrated by the anthemic and popular jazz-funk anthem “Music Is My Sanctuary.” 
His participation on beloved albums by the likes of Pharoah Sanders, Donald Byrd, Norman Connors, Roy Ayers, Gene Ammons, Phyllis Hyman and Jackie McLean among others further demonstrates how much Gary brings to any project in which he’s involved. 
This is what Gary Bartz brings to the Jazz Is Dead project and as can be expected, his questing spirit fits the JID style like a glove and has produced an album that’s a cutting-edge addition to his immense canon as he effortlessly interfaces with the next generation. 
 
ILL-ADVISED:
Baltimore-bred Gary Bartz wasted no time jumping into the deep end and keeping heavy company in the jazz world from the time he graduated from Juilliard. Starting with Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop, where he further developed his craft alongside Eric Dolphy and McCoy Tyner, he quickly established himself as a fast-rising presence on the New York jazz scene. He contributed to important socially-conscious works by jazz’s pioneering First Couple of Woke, Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, and then did a stint with one of jazz’s most renowned
“universities,” Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. In 1968 he joined McCoy Tyner’s Expansions group while also making his debut as a leader on Milestone with the Libra album whose title track he would also record with Max Roach the same busy year. Joining up with Miles Davis in 1970, Gary performed with him at the Isle Of Wight and at further US gigs which would form the basis of Miles’ Live-Evil album. Shortly afterwards he formed the now-legendary Ntu Troop with which he released a pair of classic spiritual-jazz-funk albums featuring the distinctive vocals of Andy Bey. These important works brought heavy doses of Gary’s spiritual and social consciousness into clear focus and reflected the very real turmoil of the era during which they were created by adding lyrics that made explicit what had previously been implied musically by his compositions. The incorporation of spoken-word passages and free-jazz explorations made the whole thing even more cutting-edge and contributed to its continuing relevance today.


After several more Milestone albums with Ntu Troop he switched to Prestige and hooked up with Larry and Fonce Mizell who were at that point making serious waves with their Sky High Productions setup. The result of this was the classic The Shadow Do, one of his most sought-after records. Younger listeners will immediately recognize the distinctive two-bar phrase in “Gentle Smiles” around which A Tribe Called Quest’s “Butter” hinges but the entire album encapsulates the legendary Mizell sonic signature that was a perfect match for Gary.


But even as he was getting ever-deeper into jazz-funk he always kept one foot in more traditional forms and still found time to release more straight-ahead albums like the great Juju Man whose title track is a tribute to Trane’s A Love Supreme. Another collaboration with the Mizells produced the longtime DJ-favorite Music Is My Sanctuary album, this time for Capitol Records. Its title track is a longtime staple of the rare groove scene, as is “Carnival De L’Esprit.” The followup Love Affair album continued in a similar funky vein as did 1980’s Bartz on Arista where he teamed up with another legendary pair with a Midas touch, James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. The list of samples later taken from this entire era of Gary’s work is very long and goes far beyond the famous Quest one, including such notables as Black Sheep, Jurassic 5, Casual, RPM, Warren G, Photek, Statik Selektah, Chi-Ali, 3rd Bass, Showbiz, Z-Trip, Young Disciples, and many others.


The 80s were mostly a quiet period for Gary as he took some time to reassess his life and his art but he came roaring back in 1988 with a renewed dedication to pure jazz which resulted in a slew of new releases reasserting his deep wisdom and the bop skills he had honed decades before. Starting off with an album dedicated to the works of Thelonious Monk, he kept a steady flow of new albums coming in the 90s that found him sparring with both legends of his own generation and with the new crop of young lions that had sprung up in recent years. There were albums with Leon Thomas, Sonny Fortune and Larry Willis as well as one with keyboardist Robert Walter of the Greyboy Allstars. 


This busy touring and recording schedule into the new millennium re-established his deep jazz credentials even as another generation of DJs and hip-hop producers discovered the untold riches contained in his back catalog. Gary Bartz remains spry, fit and energetic at age 80 and his new collaboration with Jazz Is Dead’s Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad is the glorious proof.

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Gary Bartz JID006 Liner Notes/Credits

All music composed by Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad unless otherwise noted; produced, recorded and mixed by Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad at Linear Labs Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Mastered by Dave Cooley for Elysian Masters. Executive Produced by Andrew Lojero. Associate Produced by Adam Block. All songs published by Linear Labs Publishing (ASCAP) & Cool Abdul Music (ASCAP). Graphic Design by Julian Montague. Photography by The Artform Studio.
 
Spiritual IdeationMusicians:Gary Bartz: Alto Saxophone
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Grand piano, Hammond organ, Electric bass, Monophonic synthesizers, Mellotron, Vibraphone
Greg Paul: Drums
Written by: Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Gary Bartz

Visions of LoveMusicians:Gary Bartz: Alto Saxophone
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond organ, Electric bass, Electric guitar, Monophonic synthesizers, Mellotron, Vibraphone, Flutes
Greg Paul: Drums
Written by: Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Gary Bartz
Vocalists: Elgin Clark, Anitra Castleberry, Loren Oden and Saudia Yasmein
 
Black and BrownMusicians:Gary Bartz: Alto Saxophone
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond organ, Electric bass, Electric guitar, Monophonic synthesizers, Vibraphone
Greg Paul: Drums
Written by: Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Gary Bartz
 
Blue JunglesMusicians:Gary Bartz: Alto Saxophone
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Hammond organ, Electric bass, Electric guitars, Monophonic synthesizers, Vibraphone
Greg Paul: Drums
Written by: Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Gary Bartz
Day By DayMusicians:Gary Bartz: Alto Saxophone
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond organ, Electric bass, Monophonic synthesizers, Vibraphone, Tubular Bells, Flutes
Greg Paul: Drums
Written by: Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Gary Bartz
Vocalists: Elgin Clark, Anitra Castleberry, Loren Oden and Saudia Yasmein
 
Distant ModesMusicians:Gary Bartz: Alto Saxophone
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Fender Rhodes piano, Electric bass, Electric guitars, Monophonic synthesizers, Vibraphone, percussion
Greg Paul: Drums
Written by: Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Gary Bartz

The MessageMusicians:Gary Bartz: Soprano Saxophone
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond organ, Electric bass, Electric guitar, Monophonic synthesizers, Vibraphone, Mellotron, Autoharp
Greg Paul: Drums
Written by: Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Gary Bartz
 
SoulseaMusicians:Gary Bartz: Alto Saxophone
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Fender Rhodes piano, Electric bass, Monophonic synthesizers, Mellotron
Greg Paul: Drums
Written by: Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Gary Bartz
 

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