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Gary Burton

 B i o g r a p h y

Gary Burton first showed off his vibraphone technique with George Shearing and Stan Getz, often playing with four mallets instead of the usual two. Burton brings a fluid sense of Swing to often "left of the mainstream" musical ideas, making him a forward-thinking Post Bop artist who builds on the past, often to startling effect. He has recorded some great sides with Chick Corea, but we recommend Departure (1997), where his recording of the Frazier theme returns the song to its shimmering, George Shearing-style roots. Like his fellow vibes master, Bobby Hutcherson, Burton keeps experimenting while pleasing audiences - making him a shining light in modern mainstream jazz.

* * *

One of the two great vibraphonists to emerge in the 1960s (along with Bobby Hutcherson), Gary Burton's remarkable four-mallet technique (best displayed on an unaccompanied version of "No More Blues" from 1971) can make him sound like two or three players at once. He recorded in a wide variety of settings and always sounds distinctive. Self-taught on vibes, Burton made his recording debut with country guitarist Hank Garland when he was 17, started recording regularly for RCA in 1961, and toured with George Shearing's quintet in 1963. He gained some fame while with Stan Getz's piano-less quartet during 1964-1966, and then put together his own groups. In 1967, with guitarist Larry Coryell, he led one of the early "fusion" bands; Coryell would later be succeeded by Sam Brown, Mick Goodrick, John Scofield, Jerry Hahn, and Pat Metheny. Burton recorded duet sets with Chick Corea (they also toured extensively), Ralph Towner, Steve Swallow, and Paul Bley, and collaborated on an album apiece with Stephane Grappelli and Keith Jarrett. Among his sidemen in the late '70s and '80s were Makoto Ozone, Tiger Okoshi, and Tommy Smith. Very active as an educator at Berklee since joining its faculty in 1971, Burton (who teamed up with Eddie Daniels in the early '90s for an interesting Benny Goodman/Lionel Hampton tribute tour and recording) remained a prominent stylist. He recorded during different periods of his career extensively for RCA, Atlantic, ECM, GRP, and Concord, releasing Like Minds through the latter in 1998. Two years later, Libertango, his tribute to tango master Astor Piazzolla, arrived. The very personal composition For Hamp, Red, Bags, and Cal was issued in 2001and in 2002 he explored classical music with a duet album Virtuosi recorded with pianist Makoto Ozone. 2004 found Burton back on more familiar ground with the release of Generations a bop-influenced quartet album for longtime label Concord

Official Site: www.garyburton.com

Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

 A l b u m s

Works (ECM Records, 1972)
The New Quartet (ECM Recordds, 1973)

with Chick Corea:
Crystal Silence (ECM Records, 1972)
Native sense (Stretch Records, 1997)

with Eberhard Weber:
Ring (ECM Recordds, 1974)
Passengers (ECM Records, 1977)