This ever-so-funky little jazz number came to my attention yesterday and I’ve tracked it down today so that I could share the funk!
Gary Bartz is a U.S saxophonist whose break into the music industry came when filling in with Art Blakey’s band at his father’s club in Baltimore. Also playing with the likes of Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, McCoy Tyner and Jackie McLean, Bartz went on to form his own band in 1969 called the NTU Troop. Combining soul, funk, African music, hard bop, and avant-garde jazz, this group were dedicated to the furtherance of Black Americans through their musical heritage.
Gary Bartz recorded his two volumes of Harlem Bush Music in the Winter of 1970-71 and this is where today’s song can be found. The music laid down was subsequently issued on two albums entitled Uhuru and Taifa on Milestone Records, utilising the powerful spirituality of vocalist Andy Bey.
‘Celestial Blues’ has become a Dance Jazz classic and has been sampled by numerous productions, listen above.
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