Gary Bartz NTU Troop: Live In Bremen

The former Miles Davis saxophonist is on imperious form but this 1970s jazz-rock setting may lack artistic validity


Gary Bartz, born 1940, is one of the great alto saxophonists of the post-bop era. His 1968 album Another Earth, featuring featured Pharoah Sanders and Charles Tolliver, had synthesised spiritual and space jazz. He became well-known through his work with Miles Davis, appearing on Live-Evil (1971). After a relatively short period with Miles, he formed NTU Troop.

In the course of a long career he’s returned to more straightahead post-bop, in recent years producing fine albums with contemporaries such as trumpeter Eddie Henderson.

This two-CD set was recorded on a 1975 European tour by Radio Bremen. The ethos is funk, with bass guitar replacing acoustic bass. Though I’m a big fan of Bartz, the immediate post-Miles jazz-rock period represented on this album doesn’t seem to be his greatest work.

Many musicians in the 1970s convinced themselves that they were producing artistically valid work in this style when that probably wasn’t the case – and that may be true here. Bartz is on imperious form on alto, as always, but the material is dull and the support isn’t first-rate.

CD1: Nation Time / Juju Man; Rise / Celestial Blues / The Sounding Song / Incident / Uhuru Sasa; I’ve Known Rivers (64.36)
CD2: Sweet Tooth; Peace And Love / Sifa Zote; For The Love Of You (52.46)

Bartz (as); Charles Mims (kyb); Curtis Robertson (elb); Howard King (d). Bremen, 8 November 1975.
Moosicus M 13152