Gary Bartz: But Not For Me
But Not For Me
Gary Bartz (alto sax)
The Red and Orange Poems (Atlantic 82720-2)
Greg Bandy (drums).
Composed by George & Ira Gershwin.
Recorded: New York, September 24-25, 1994
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Gary Bartz began his career in the '60s with the groups of Max Roach/Abby Lincoln, Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, and finally Miles Davis in 1970-71 (check him out on Live-Evil), before forming his popular NTU Troop and subsequently losing his way with more commercial, unfocused projects. By the '90s, Bartz was back in the land of hard and post bop for good, now considered an altoist with an individual and fully formed stylistic approach, if no longer thought of as a potential great on his instrument as had once been the case in his youth.
This ballad feature presents a clear picture of Bartz's influences, most prominently Coltrane, Rollins, McLean and Stitt, although it's also evident that Bartz has transcended these role models. (Coltrane's version from his My Favorite Things album comes most immediately to mind.) Bartz's perfectly rounded, succulent tone enhances his presentations of both the verse and main theme, as well as his many original ideas expressed during an effervescent, technically polished solo. Bartz is also not reluctant to coarsen or add dissonance to his sound in order to make a more emotionally intense point. Pianist Mulgrew Miller follows with a stirring solo of his own, only to be topped by bassist Dave Holland's remarkable in-the-pocket virtuosity immediately thereafter. Bartz returns for the theme and the beginnings of a heated out-chorus before a fadeout at the 9:25 mark. This is a saxophonist one wouldn't want to foolishly try to challenge or top at an otherwise friendly jam session.
Reviewer: Scott Albin