Gary Bartz

Shadows

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AllMusic Review by

Veteran alto and soprano saxophonist Gary Bartz's debut recording for the Dutch Timeless label is one of his finest efforts as he enlisted the services of pianist Benny Green, bassist Christian McBride, drummer Victor Lewis, and tenor saxophonist Willie Williams on three selections to perform an unusual program of one Bartz composition, three jazz classics, two movie themes, and one radio theme. Bartz's strong tone, sense of swing, and improvisational imagination place him within the ranks of jazz's finest saxophonists, and he proves it throughout this recording. Favorites include the title track, which is actually two Bartz compositions, one medium, one up, joined by an excellent McBride bass solo; John Coltrane's "Song of the Underground Railroad," performed up-tempo, in the spirit of Coltrane all the way down to a blistering sax-drums duet; McCoy Tyner's "Peresina," a medium Afro-Latin number with the melody played by the not-heard-enough combination of tenor and alto sax; and Wayne Shorter's "Children of the Night" where the melody is played over a hip groove by McBride and Lewis and features one of the best Bartz solos on record. McBride, who just had turned 19 at the time of this recording, displays a huge tone, solid time, and the improvisational ability of a more experienced musician, while Lewis' dynamic drumming lays down a solid foundation along with McBride's bass, serving as the catalyst for the excellence of this recording. Shadows is an excellent addition to Bartz's extensive discography.

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