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Music Is My Sanctuary (1977)

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Eddie Henderson

Surrounding himself with a world-class ensemble of disco-jazz-fusion musicians and armed with the Mizell brothers at the production console (who were near the peak of their careers around this time), Gary Bartz took the route of Donald Byrd and brought new elements of funk, soul, and a foreshadowing of the soon-to-be-commercial disco craze all into a 40-minute workout on Music Is My Sanctuary. While purists nodded their heads in disapproval and disdain at Bartz's new direction (one emulated by several jazz pioneers at the time), those who could take off their traditional jazz mufflers would find Bartz and the Mizells making some highly infectious, soulful music. Further accentuated by the addition of Syreeta Wright on vocals, the Mizells took Bartz into nearly uncharted territories for jazz musicians. The results of this experimentation more than paid off, with the dividends being Bartz's most polished, focused releases. ~ Rob Theakston