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Red Bull Music Academy Presents THE GARY BARTZ PROJECT feat. Bilal and Aloe Blacc
January 25, 2012
Jill Newman Productions
- 8pm $30 - SOLD OUT
RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY PRESENTS NEW YORK CITY TO THE SF BAY: JAZZ
Jan 25-27: Red Bull Music Academy kicks off the 2012 application phase in San Francisco, building momentum towards the return of RBMA to the US for five weeks in New York City later this Fall. This program is night one of a three night series featuring New York City artists in SF Venues around the artforms of Jazz, Hip Hop and Dance music. For more info, visit: www.redbullmusicacademy.com
Grammy Award winning jazz saxophonist Gary Bartz first came to New York In 1958 to attend the Julliard Conservatory of Music. Just 17 years old, Gary couldn't wait to come to the city to play and learn. "It was a very good time for the music in New York, at the end of what had been the be-bop era," says Bartz. "Charlie Parker had passed away three years previously but Miles' group was in its heyday, Monk was down at the Five Spot, and Ornette Coleman was just coming to town. Things were fresh." Back then, Gary could regularly be found drinking Cokes in the all ages "peanut gallery" of Birdland, enjoying a marathon bill of performers. "If I didn't have money to get in. I'd help somebody carry a drum and sneak in," laughs Bartz. "I learned that early on."
Circa mid-'60s, the alto saxophonist - still in his early 20s - began performing throughout the city with the Max Roach/Abbey Lincoln Group and quickly established himself as the most promising alto voice since Cannonball Adderley. "In those days, we used to go by people's lofts and stay for weeks, just working on music," says Gary. "Polks would all chip in and buy food, and one of us would cook. But there was always music, because people were dropping by at all hours. We didn't even think about it; that's just what we did. We were very unselfish about what we were writing because, after all, music doesn't belong to any one person. It belongs to the people, to everybody."
With the splash of his New York debut solidly behind him, Bartz soon joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. According to the story, Gary's parents owned a club in Baltimore, the North End Lounge. When his father hired Blakey for a gig, Gary grabbed the opportunity to fill a sax player vacancy in the band. After his performance that night, the young Bartz was officially hired to join the Jazz Messengers; in 1965, he would make his recording debut on Blakey's SOULFINGER album.
From 1962-64, Gary joined Charles Mingus' Workshop and began practicing regularly with fellow members of the horn section, including Eric Dolphy. In 1968, Bartz began an association with McCoy Tyner, which included participating in Tyner's classic EXPANSIONS and EXTENSIONS albums. Work with McCoy proved especially significant for Bartz because of the bandleader's strong connection to John Coltrane — who Gary succinctly cites as a profound influence.
So. Cal native Aloe Blacc began his recording career as an MC back in high school, when he joined up with hip-hop producer Exile to form the mainstay indie rap group, Emanon. A few years later, Aloe would “stow away” on a Lootpack European tour and become fast friends with Oh No – a relationship which led to many fruitful collaborations as a solo artist.
These days, Aloe Blacc has evolved into a true Renaissance man. Recordings like his Latin cover of John Legend’s “Ordinary People” prove that – not only can this multi-instrumentalist produce, rap and sing – but he can flip it in Spanish, too. With an amazingly broad set of influences ranging widely from the acoustic guitar stylings of folk artist Cat Stevens, to the soul-stirring sounds of the Negro Spirituals, Aloe prides himself on the spectrum of his musical roots. His sound often forays into the digital R&B realm, but always grooves with a tinge of Latin and the pulse of hip-hop
A classically trained vocal veteran, Bilal released his debut album 1st Born Second in 2001, which boasted the popular single “Soul Sista.” The follow-up, Love for Sale (2006), was shelved but leaked entirely online yet was well received to fans and music critics and has become an underground classic. In the following years, Bilal has collaborated and performed with some of the industry’s most prominent artists including, Beyonce (Fighting Temptations), Common (Like Water for Chocolate, Electric Circus, Be, Finding Forever), Jay-Z (American Gangster), Erykah Badu (New Amerykah Part One, New Amerykah Part Two), Robert Glasper (All Matter), Boney James (Better With Time), Musiq (Soulstar) and The Roots among others. He also covered Radiohead’s “High & Dry” for the 2006 Radiohead tribute, Exit Music: Songs With Radio Heads. Bilal also appears in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.