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Gary Bartz

By Published: July 15, 2005

AAJ: That is a problem of the labeling, too.

GB: Yeah.

AAJ: because they associate Kenny G. with Gary Bartz as being the same.

GB: Yeah.

AAJ: Terrible!

GB: I mean, we are the same in that we are musicians. And I think that is okay. I accept Kenny G. as a musician. I accept it. But see, that is the same thing that happens with this black, white, red, yellow, Asian, you know I am this, I am from Russia, I am from Cuba, I am from Sierra Leone. But really, we are from earth. Okay? When you see that, then you love each other, because we are all homeboys, (Laughs) so to speak, because we are all born on this planet. So that makes us the same. Why is there division? See, divide and conquer works, and that as what is being done over and over, constantly, it is about divide and conquer, because then the people who control things, they can control it better, they don't have to worry too much about as many wars as there could be. Because we could be having more wars than ever, now. I mean, we should not have any wars. I'm against wars, by the way.

AAJ: Oh, yeah, me too.

GB: (Inaudible).

AAJ: I don't know anybody who is.

GB: Well, obviously, there are some people who

AAJ: down 46th Street or (Inaudible) (Laughs)...

GB: There s some people who are for it. I mean, how could you send your kids off to a foreign land to fight somebody else battles?

AAJ: Because they can't get a job doing anything else in the country, and they want to they say $20,000, that is a lot of money, but its really not

GB: Is that what it is?

AAJ: I think that is what it is. I have a friend in Seattle, and she is very smart, and she has to pay off her college loans, and she has done the research, and

GB: Yeah. So shell go kill some people to get that money? You might as well rob a bank.

AAJ: But you tell a kid in the country, $20,000 verses five dollars an hour, and they do it.

GB: Oh, sure. I mean, I do understand that part. But that goes back to home training. I mean, when you're young, and they teach you the Ten Commandments, Thou Shalt Not Kill is one of them. Okay. When does that change? Thou Shalt Not Kill except when your government tells you its okay.

AAJ: Then what they are talking about now in the news is all these soldiers that are being tried for murder. It's like it's okay sometimes, but not if it gets caught up in the media, then you might go to jail.

GB: Right, yeah. It's okay to kill, just don't let anybody find out. Well, that's the way it is anyway.

AAJ: Yeah. Its so screwed up. But I just want to ask you a couple more questions. You worked a lot with Charles Tolliver in the —"60s, and now you're working with him, again, recently. What is that like to have since its still really fresh now like it was then, what is that, after all the years.

GB: Well, because he is (Inaudible) he is always a musician in growth. He is always growing. So that's always challenging.

AAJ: And what about some of your other current projects, or if that might be one of your favorite current projects?

GB: My favorite project always is my group. Yeah, that s always my favorite and working with McCoy, I love working with McCoy Tyner, too.

AAJ: How can you not? [Laughter]

GB: Yeah, so those things. We will be in Europe touring the festivals in July.

AAJ: And what can people look forward from you in the future?

GB: Well, you might have heard me talking to Yusef. I've got about five albums in the can, and I am having meetings next week to do the album covers. And as soon as the album covers are ready, I am putting them out, because like I said, Yusef inspired me so much and he made me realize...

AAJ: The YAL(?) records he's got 200 albums he's put out.

GB: Yes! That's right.

AAJ: Well, maybe not 200, but...

GB: He's got that many, at least, in the can.

AAJ: And he puts out like he is eighty-four, and he puts out fifteen records a year.

GB: Yes.

AAJ: That's incredible.

GB: Yes, what an inspiration. But you see, as long as I was tuned into the system, into the record labels, I felt that I continue record a record. You know, I hope my record label will let me record this year, or next month.

AAJ: Right.

GB: Once I freed myself from them I realized I could do a record every day. I could have done a record even when I was with the record labels. I wouldn't have put them out because I was under contract to the record label.

AAJ: (Inaudible) like Coltrane (Inaudible)...

GB: But I could have had them sitting there. And you see, what Yusef told me was that or at least he made me realize is that we don't have anybody taking care of us, like a union, like a real musicians union, so we don't have stocks, we don't have a retirement fund or anything. But our masters, our recordings, that's what we leave our kids, because they become more valuable. That's why I had felt like I cannot be a part of an industry, and a music industry knows that you are more valuable when you are dead than when you are alive, because then you can't get anymore, and so the value goes up.

And so I don't want to be a part of an industry that thinks I am more valuable when I am dead. I cannot be a part of that. And I resent that, and I think everybody should revolt against that. But that is their choice. My choice is that a master I would like to say this, too, because a lot of musicians just don't realize yet a master is tape or recording in any condition, doesn't matter what condition it is in, it is not the quality of the format, it is the quality of the music on that format. I mean, why would you put out that has been speeded up, it is not in the right key, but you've made thousands and thousands of dollars off of this. Okay? It is not the best quality, but it's Charlie Parker on that tape. That's what is going to sell, not the quality. People don't go into a record store and say, I want your best sounding record. They go in there looking for the music.

So a master musicians I call musicians the hidden record labels, because we have more masters than most record labels. I've got tapes. I've got thousands of masters, I mean, with everybody you can name, from Miles to...] you name it, everybody I've worked with, groups you don't even know I've worked with, I've got tapes and recordings. These are all masters, and we have to recognize that. Once we recognize that, then maybe we'll have some leverage to deal with these record labels. I've got record labels coming after me trying to Can I get this tape, because they know some of the tapes I've got. Oh yeah, I know you would like to have it, so you can beat us out of this one. But they will never get any of my masters, long as I am living, anyway. And I am trying to pass that on to my kids, and to the next generation. And that is the name of my record label, by the way, is own your own your own recordings its called OYOR. But I think that's very important, is that we realize that any tape that we have is a potential recording. And that's a very important thing to know.

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