Gary Bartz Quintet: Gary Bartz (alto, soprano saxophone); Claudio Roditi (trumpet, flugelhorn); John Hicks (piano); Ray Drummond (bass instrument); Al Foster (drums).
After a long period of indifferent recordings, altoist Gary Bartz started to fulfill his potential in the early '90s. Joined by a superb rhythm section (comprised of pianist John Hicks, bassist Ray Drummond, and drummer Al Foster) and trumpeter Claudio Roditi (whose restrained power complements rather than competes with Bartz), the altoist really stretches out, particularly on "Speak Low" and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" which both clock in at within seven seconds of 19 minutes apiece. Bartz is quite lyrical on a superior version of "It's Easy to Remember" and also takes inventive solos on his modal blues "Cousins" and Wilbur Harden's "West 42nd Street." A highly recommended gem. ~ Scott Yanow