Considered a pioneer in the music industry, alto saxophonist Gary Bartz is renowned for a style influenced by fusion and funk, integrating African and soul influences as well as the essential legacy of swing and blues. With a career spanning almost 60 years, he has played alongside some of the greatest names in jazz. In that company, he developed a very special collaborative relationship with McCoy Tyner both onstage and in the studio, notably winning a Grammy with him for the album Illuminations. He has established himself as a major jazz figure with an impressive discography of some 40 solo albums and over 200 albums as an accompanist. Born in Baltimore in 1940, Bartz made the leap to New York in 1958 to study at the Julliard School of Music, plunging into the vibrant New York scene of the era. Influenced by John Coltrane and Charlie Parker, he opened the ’60s playing alongside Charles Mingus, then gigged all over the city in groups led by Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, quickly establishing himself as one of the most promising horn players of his generation. After an impressive start on the New York scene, he joined the ranks of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, making his recording debut with them in 1965 on the album Soulfinger. He began his association with McCoy Tyner in 1968, joining the group Expansions and playing on the classic Expansions and Extentions. Alongside that, he started his own group: the Gary Bartz NTU Troop, combining soul, funk, African music, hard bop and avant-garde jazz and releasing the influential albums Harlem Bush Music: Taifa and Juju Street Songs. Aside from that group, the years 1973-1975 were exceedingly fertile for him, featuring brilliant releases I've Known Rivers and Other Bodies, Music Is My Sanctuary, Home, and Another Earth. In 1988, after a 9-year break between solo albums, Bartz resurfaced with Reflections on Monk, and the essential Monsoon, West 42nd Street, There Goes The Neighborhood, Shadows and The Red and Orange Poems. His recent discography includes I’ve Known Rivers, The Blues Chronicles: Tales of Life, Live at the Jazz Standard, as well as Soprano Stories and Coltrane Rules: Tao of a Music Warrior, the last two released on his own OYO label.