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Review by Scott Yanow: Bart Wirtz - iDreamer


Altoist Bart Wirtz’s iDreamer finds his compositions inspiring an all-star cast that includes Nicholas Payton.
A major alto-saxophonist from the Netherlands, Bart Wirtz has developed not only into one of the top saxophonists in Europe but one of the best altoists in the world. On iDreamer, an album recorded in New York, he not only holds his own with an all-star cast of Americans (trumpeter Nicholas Payton, pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Richie Goods and drummer Kendrick Scott) but contributed all ten compositions.
The music is forward-thinking hard bop with some curves thrown in. Wirtz’s compositions utilize original chord changes (rather than being based on standards), explore many moods, and are often adventurous. Most memorable among his originals is “Camels” which, with its erratic rhythms, definitely conjures up the image of camels taking their time crossing the desert. Other pieces include ballads (including the somber “Evolution Of The Innocent”), heated romps, and thoughtful numbers.
Wirtz’s alto playing is excellent throughout (he also plays a little bit of flute, organ and piano), Nicholas Payton is in very expressive and often explosive form, and the rhythm section is top-notch. The musicians are challenged by the material and all ten performances are rewarding.
iDreamer is a major step forward for Bart Wirtz, an altoist and composer who deserves to be rated near the top of his field.

- Scott Yanow

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