Heads of State
Four In One Four In One
The highly anticipated sophomore recording by the all-star quartet, Heads of State
Features a diverse program of jazz classics (Monk, Parker, Miles, etc.), as well as original compositions by each band member.
The 8-panel deluxe digipak features original photography by John Abbott, a message from Heads of State friend and fan Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and liner notes by jazz journalist Shaun Brady
Heads of State is a quartet of living legends that features saxophonist Gary Bartz, pianist Larry Willis, drummer Al Foster, and their latest addition, bassist David “Happy” Williams. The band began life in September 2014 as the Larry Willis All-Stars, assembled for a weekend engagement at Smoke Jazz Club in New York to pay tribute to McCoy Tyner (with whom Bartz, Foster and original Heads of State bassist Buster Williams had all played extensively.) But, there was magic in the air that weekend and the response to their music so overwhelming that they realized that they had something. Something that they wanted to continue. So, they morphed into a collective unit with a far more expansive mission. They made their recording debut in 2015 with the critically and popularly acclaimed “Search for Peace.” Now, after another year of playing together under their collective belts (on top of the nearly five decades of relationships shared by the various members), they return with the aptly-titled “Four in One,” due out March 17 on Smoke Sessions Records.
Gary Bartz was born in 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland where he got his first break as a teenager subbing in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers at his father’s nightclub. He has worked with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, McCoy Tyner, and Jackie McLean. His work as a leader has also been hailed through his own recordings from the 1960s on and have included forays into soul, funk, African music, hard bop, and avant-garde jazz. The noted critic Stanley Crouch has said he is “one of the very best who has ever picked up the instrument.”
Larry Willis is a native New Yorker who was also born in 1940. He has performed in a wide range of styles, including jazz-fusion, rock, bebop and avant-garde. He got his break right out of school working with Jackie McLean with whom he made his recording debut. In the 1970s, he was the keyboardist for the popular group, Blood, Sweat & Tears and has also worked with Hugh Masekela, Lee Morgan, Stan Getz, Cannonball Adderley, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw and Roy Hargrove.
David “Happy” Williams is originally from Trinidad but based in New York City where he arrived in 1969. He subsequently worked with Grachan Moncur, Ron Carter and Chuck Mangione before relocating to Washington, DC where he became Roberta Flack’s bassist for two years. He also worked with Donny Hathaway, Woody Shaw, Art Pepper, Kenny Barron, Abdullah Ibrahim, David “Fathead” Newman, Abbey Lincoln, and Kathleen Battle. In 1982, he began perhaps his most important musical association as a member of the legendary Cedar Walton Trio alongside Billy Higgins. Williams continued to work with Walton until his passing in 2013
Al Foster was born in 1943 in Richmond, Virginia, but was raised in New York City. He is self-taught made his recording debut at the age of 16 Blue Mitchell’s “The Thing to Do.” He was “discovered” by Miles Davis in 1969 working at the Cellar Club on 95th Street in Manhattan who hired him on the spot. He was an integral part of Miles’ touring and recording until 1985. He has also worked extensively with Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, among many others and led his own well-regarded groups.
1. Four in One
2. And He Called Himself a Messenger
3. Dance Cadaverous
4. Moose the Mooche
6. The Day You Said Goodbye
8. Keep the Master in Mind
9. Someone to Watch Over Me
10. Sippin’ at Bells
11. Freedom Jazz Dance
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Heads of State
Four In One
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Heads of State
Four In One
Digital Audio Longplay