It’s midweek already, and I can’t believe December is here. This year has gone by so quick, my life has changed (for the better), and we’re approaching TWO years of Flea Market Funk. I think 2009 is going to be an even more exciting year, and I look forward to doing more gigs, meeting more of you, and bringing FMF to the next level. I’ve made a few changes to this site in the past week or so. I have reconnected some broken links (The Supreme La Rock and COOP Guest Mixes), and added some more mixes to my personal website. Also, for those of you unaware, there is another Asbury Park 45 Sessions on December 12th at 9PM, at the World Famous Asbury Lanes. This month’s Guest Selector is family people, it’s none other than Cool Hands Luke out of Brooklyn. Luke is a great friend, and a terrific DJ. So if you’re around on the 12th, stop by. There is also a bonus gig the same day from 5PM to 9PM at StyleRocket’s flagship store on the boardwalk in Asbury. It’s a Holiday party for Atwater Collection and Style Rocket. There will be free food, drinks, and I will be providing the beats, so let’s see you out! Ok, now that all the news is out of the way, let’s get into some music, shall we? Today we have Gary Bartz with “Music Is My Sanctuary” off of the same titled Lp on Capitol Records from 1977.
Alto Saxophonist Gary Bartz was born in Baltimore, MD in 1940. He attended Julliard, and from 1962-64 he was a part of the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop. Here he’d run into and make contact with McCoy Tyner and Eric Dolphy. Bartz went on to be a sideman for greats such as Art Blakey (with the Jazz Messengers), Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln. From there he’d hook back up with Tyner in 1968 in Tyner’s Expansions band. He was a busy guy, as a sideman for Max Roach, Miles Davis (Live Evil) , and formed NTU Troop. This is where I was introduced to Gary Bartz. NTU Troop was a collaboration of Soul, Funk, African music, Hard Bop and Jazz. The tune, was “Celestial Blues” and I highly recommend it. I think Pharrell from the Neptunes was all jazzed up on it recently, but it has been a favorite of mine for years. 7 minutes of the sweet shit. NTU Troop recorded from 1970-73, and released some great music. Records such as Harlem Bush Music, Juju Street Songs, and Taifa combined his influences of Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Rassan Roland Kirk, and Pharoah Sanders into a diverse style of playing. Bartz would not stop there. He’d keep on trucking and release Music Is My Sanctuary, Another Earth, Home, and I’ve Known Rivers and Other Bodies to round out the 70’s. Throughout the 80’s Bartz was around, but his greatest release during that era was Reflections on Monk. Although known by Diggers and DJ’s alike, Bartz may be one of the more under appreciated altos around.
One Bartz’s greatest and most well known songs, but by far not his greatest, “Music Is My Sanctuary” is definitely some Jazz Fusion: fusing everything from Disco to Rock to Jazz to Funk and Soul. It weaves a tale, which is true, about the many faces of music. I feel the same way when I hear certain songs. Music definitely is a huge part of my life, and it can affect many people in different ways. I believe Bartz was on the same level. By this time in his career, his level as a musician and leader could get players like James Gadsen, Larry Mizell, David T. Walker, Wa Wa Washington, Eddie Henderson, Ray Brown, and a whole gang of others to record with him. On a whole, this song and Lp are to me, down right funky and feel good music. It’s how music should make you feel. See you at the end of the week. Keep Diggin’!