Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gary Bartz played like a motherfu**er.

Miles Davis The Cellar Door Sessions 1970

I know that this was Miles' band, and I know that Jack DeJohnette [drums] is a mother on this set, too, but man, Gary Bartz [alto & soprano sax]. Shit. Airto adds depth to the scene with his perscussion, and Michael Henderson [bass] ALWAYS lays the shit down. Keith Jarrett is nothing like his current self on this set. John McLaughlin sits in for two nights to lay some solos down and add to the fire Gary Bartz. Heavy.

This six-disc release has been a long time coming to Miles Davis fans. We all knew parts of it, as portions of these dates were edited together with some studio material to make the stone cold killer Live Evil 2LP set. Recorded at the Cellar Door club in Washington DC, these three nights give us a window into Miles' brain at the time. This band was as heavy and as hard as any he would put together, with the 1973-'75 band coming in as a close second.

The reason I focus on Bartz is because of my relative lack of experience in listening to his playing. I have heard a little of the NTU Troop material, but nothing was to prepare me for this. Certain players can hang behind the beat just enough to give such a heavy swing feel that it gives me a rush. Bartz is one of those players. To better that, he plays these solid blue-without-being-blues phrases that send me into fits. Backed by that killer band, the funk is so heavy I almost can't listen via headphones as I walk to work.

What must it have been like to be there? Get this set, and get the second best thing. Sony/BMG's music club has this set for $35.94. Go there, sign up, and buy it already.

Tags: Miles Davis Cellar Door jazz

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