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Philly Girl comes to live in Baltimore for the third time - in 2004 - finds her way back to Radio via the 24/7 Contemporary Jazz station in town - and finds a tie to both cities that she hadn't expected...
Hearing Gary Bartz's body of work echoes the soundtrack of my life. He's certainly one of Baltimore's musical heroes, but his spiritual and physical associations have mirrored Philadelphia. Gary's reverence for John Coltrane has been verbalized and immortalized via CD. His partnership with my hometown's McCoy Tyner started in 1968. And the group that Gary created: NTU Troop - had my fellow students talking in tongues on the campus of Temple University in the 70's.
Fast forward to that job at WSMJ here in Ravens City...not that a Smooth Jazz station would play the cerebral meat and potatoes "hybridity" that is Gary Bartz - but the questions came at me from two towns. Back home: "Did you meet Gary yet?" Adopted: "Is Gary coming back?" At Cap Jazz: "Ooooh - you're in Baltimore - the home of GARY."
It's amazing how this multi-versed saxophonist haunts me. And now I get to share the "ghost" with you :-D The teenager who camped out in Birdland in the peanut gallery while attending Julliard - who found work with Max and Abbey in the 60's - filled in for Art Blakey's sax player one night and was asked to join the Jazz Messengers - did serious time with Miles and Mingus and won a Grammy with McCoy - revered in circles, both local and international - well, he's coming to share his story with us on Thursday, February 7th.
Gary Bartz is taking the time out of his schedule as Professor at Oberlin to recall so much...including his Dad's club in Baltimore, where the greats used to play. And now - greatness visits US via "Hybrid Jazz."
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It's good to talk.