Gary Bartz (NEA Jazz Master)

About Gary Bartz

NEA Jazz Master Gary Bartz (born 1940) is an American jazz saxophonist and a winner of 3 Grammy Awards. He has released more than 45 solo albums and appears on more than 200 as a guest artist, as well as working with some of the up-and-coming artists in jazz today, such as Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge for their Jazz Is Dead series and the jazz-funk band Maisha.

Gary Bartz’ Biography

Gary Bartz was first exposed to jazz as the son of the owners of a jazz nightclub in Baltimore. In 1958 at the age of 17 he left Baltimore to study at the Julliard Conservatory of Music in New York. In the early 1960s, he performed with Eric Dolphy and McCoy Tyner in Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop. He worked as a sideman with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln before joining Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. In 1965 Bartz made his recording debut on Blakey’s “Soulfinger” Album. In 1968, he was a member of McCoy Tyner’s band, Expansions.

In mid-1970, he joined Miles Davis’ band, performing live at the Isle Of Wight festival in August; and at a series of December dates at The Cellar Door club in Washington, D.C. Portions of these shows were initially released on the 1971 Live-Evil album, with the entire six performance/four night run eventually released in full on the 2005 Cellar Door Sessions box set. He later formed the band Ntu Troop, which combined jazz, funk, soul, hard bop, and avant-garde jazz. Some of Ntu Troop’s albums are “I’ve Known Rivers and Other Bodies,” based on the poetry of Langston Hughes, as well as “Music is My Sanctuary,” “Love Affair,” and “Another Earth.”

Bartz was awarded a Grammy for “Best Latin Jazz Performance” for his work on Roy Hargrove’s “Habana” at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards, and for “Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group” for For McCoy Tyner’s Illuminations at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.

Bartz was awarded the BNY Mellon Jazz 2015 Living Legacy Award, which was presented at a special ceremony at The Kennedy Center.

In 2019, Revive Music and Bartz celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his “Another Earth” album at Winter Jazzfest in New York City, alongside original member Pharoah Sanders. In 2020, Gary Bartz collaborated with the London-based spiritual jazz ensemble, Maisha, on Night Dreamer’s Direct-to-Disc Sessions on a vinyl LP.

He is Professor of Jazz Saxophone at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Gary Bartz with Arkadia Records

Gary Bartz appeared on several Arkadia Records’ recordings most notably Harlem Sunset.


Gary Bartz also appears on these albums:

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