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Gary Bartz

king ubu

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Anyone has heard this one?

I gave it a spin yesterday and it's one very fine record!

Recorded live (on July 7, 1973) at Montreux Jazz Festival, the band (and mostly so Bartz himself) is clearly inspired. Hubert Eaves is on acoustic and electric piano, Stafford James on bass and electric bass, and 17-year-old Howard King is on drums.

They easily and without creating any harsh changes of mood switch between hard driving jazz, funk and free playing. The record was made after vocalist/pianist Andy Bey had left the band (and was replaced by Eaves), which is why Bartz himself does some singing/reciting. But don't shy away because of this! The playing is just too good to mind those few vocal passages.

The sound and the music is very much of seventies vintage, but it keeps up extremely well. Some politics, some Trane hommage, some "Bitches Brew"-reminiscences, and a very strong homage to the great great Langston Hughes (hence the title and title-track of the album).

The music was performed as sort of a suite, the short ad-text on the Fantasy-site speaks of "an uninterrupted nearly 80-minute set", though the last track (Peace and Love) seems to be an encore and there's a clearly audible fade before it.

Due to playing time of CDs, one track (Sifa Zote - featuring a stunning alto solo) is said to be "slightly edited". I have no idea, how much they had to cut out, but as the CD is more than 78 minutes, and they're talking of "nearly 80", it cannot be that much.

However good that band is, the greatest feature of this CDs is Bartz himself, turning in some clearly inspired solos (as on "Sifa Zote" or "Jujuman"), showing his own personal voice.


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What Cali said. Right down to owning the LP since the 70's. Great album. I don't know why it took Fantasy/Milestone so long to release the CD. :tup

FYI EMusic members - you can d/l it there.

BTW, why don't they release the "Harlem Bush Music" sets - "Taifa" and "Uhuru"? It's only available as an import now.

Edited by BFrank
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This is another of the many "discoveries" I've made courtesy of emusic (unlike some of you, I'd never heard the album until a month or so ago). I really dig it and as a result have been checking out a lot of other Bartz from the same period (though I hear the recently released Rare Grooves disc isn't all that good).

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