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Heads of State: Search for Peace

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These four elder statesmen of postbop-Gary Bartz, alto and soprano saxophones; Larry Willis, piano; Buster Williams, bass; and Al Foster, drums-had crossed paths many times but never played together as a quartet before an engagement last fall at New York City’s Smoke, organized as a tribute to McCoy Tyner. On their first outing as a band, their high degree of musical telepathy makes them sound like they’ve been playing together for years.

A collective consciousness oozes from these tracks, echoes of the giants with whom they apprenticed, including Tyner, Miles, Monk, Jackie McLean and Sonny Rollins, among others. The album features two songs associated with Tyner, Coltrane’s “Impressions,” which gets the album off and running on a modal groove, and Tyner’s ruminative “Search for Peace.” But there’s much more, including two Bartz originals, tunes by McLean and Benny Carter, and three well-chosen standards.

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