b. Gary Lee Bartz, 26th September, 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
Gary Bartz took up the alto sax at the age of eleven.
As a teenager Gary had played sax in his father's nightclub, sitting in with Art Blakey and George Benson.
He had started on alto at age 11 and, after studying at Juilliard and the Peabody Conservatory, Bartz worked with the Max Roach-Abbey Lincoln group in 1964.
He followed that up by stints with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1965-66), McCoy Tyner and Blue Mitchell.
Bartz made a strong impression with Miles Davis' 1970-71 fusion group, emerging as perhaps the strongest soloist on the recording 'Live / Evil'.
The altoist, who had recorded as a leader for Milestone and Prestige fairly regularly since 1967, did some of his finest work at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival (released on Prestige as 'I've Known Rivers and Other Bodies').
In 1970 he worked with Miles Davis, then in 1972 switched to the Prelude label and moved towards fusing soul R & B with jazz in his music.
By the mid seventies his recordings became funkier and more commercial.
His 1977 album 'Music Is My Sanctuary' is considered one of the finest fusion albums of it's generation, with the title track receiving 'rare groove' status.
1978's 'Love Affair' on Capitol (which featured an excellent revised version of John Coltrane's 'Giant Steps') which was well received in soul and jazz circles.
His next move was to Arista where he worked with writers / producers Mtume / Lucas on the single 'Music', taken from the album 'Bartz' (1980).
He also recorded with The Blackbyrds and Rena Scott.
By 1987, Bartz started recording more mainstream jazz style albums for Mapleshade, SteepleChase and Candid.
Gary Bartz is an underrated (and often totally overlooked) jazz great.
Libra (Milestone Records 1967)
Another Earth (Milestone Records 1968)
Home (Milestone Records 1969)
Harlem Bush Music: Taifa (BGP Records 1970)
Uhuru (Milestone Records 1971)
Juju Street Songs (Prestige Records 1972)
Follow the Medicine Man (Prestige Records 1972)
I've Known Rivers and Other Bodies (Prestige Records 1973)
Singerella: A Ghetto Fairy Tale (Prestige Records 1973)
Altissimo (Nippon Records 1974)
Music Is My Sanctuary (Capitol Records 1975)
The Shadow Do (Prestige Records 1975)
Jujuman (Catalyst Records 1976)
Love Song (VJ Records 1978)
Love Affair (Capitol Records 1978)
Bartz (Arista Records 1980)
Monsoon (Steeple Chase Records 1988)
Reflections of Monk (Steeple Chase Records 1988)
West 42nd Street (Candid Records 1990)
There Goes the Neighborhood [live] (Candid Records 1990)
Shadows (Timeless Records 1991)
Episode One Children of Harlem (Jazz Challenge Records 1994)
Red & Orange Poems (Atlantic Records 1994)
Alto Memories (Verve Records 1995)
Blues Chronicles: Tales of Life (Atlantic Records 1996)
Juju Street Songs / Follow, the Medicine Man (Prestige / Ace Records 1997)
Live @ the Jazz Standard, Vol. 1 (Ace Records 1999)