Gary Burton Quartet Revisited – With Pat Metheny (2008)

FrontCover1A mouthwatering reunion of a classic quartet. With Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow and Antonio Sanchez.

Way back in the 1960s, Gary Burton was one of a generation of young jazz trailblazers who embraced the rhythm and and energy of rock music, creating music that spoke to a new audience worldwide. His ability to find great guitarists is the stuff of legends – the original quartet included Larry Coryell – John Scofield, Kurt Rosenwikl and the latest prodigy, Julian Lage, have all passed through the quartet’s ranks.

FestivalPosterIn the mid 70s, Burton recognised the young guitarist’s massive talent – as a member of the quartet, Metheny toured and recorded three albums for ECM before leaving to form his own band….and the rest of the story is that of perhaps the most prolific and admired musicians to emerge from the world of jazz. Gary Burton, of course, continues to create extraordinary soundscapes with his shimmering and intensely melodic vibraphone improvisations.

The reunion of Burton and Metheny in the quartet setting that marked their first work together is positively mouth-watering. This is no trip into nostalgia, however – both artists are tirelessly inventive, and the music they will make together is sure to retain the freshness and invention that characterised their first meetings. What’s more, the bass chair is occpied by one Steve Swallow, whose switch from acoustic to electric back in the 60s – as a charter member of the original Burton Quartet – caused many raised eyebrows amongst the jazz traditionalists of the day – and he remains one of the masters of the instrument. Antonio Sanchez, however, is today’s find – Metheny’s current drummer of choice, he’s one of the most powerful drummers around.

In this special concert the shimmering sounds of Burton’s vibraphone are re-united with Metheny’s lyrical guitar solos and master bassist Steve Swallow in what promises to be one of this year’s international jazz milestones. —

Recorded live at the Pescara Jazz Festival Italy 2008

Gary Burton (vibraphon)
Pat Metheny (guitar)
Antonio Sanchez (drums)
Steve Swallow (bass)

01. Introduction 0.41
02. Sea Journey (Corea) 9.32
03. Olhos de Gato (Bley) 7.42
04. Falling Grace (Swallow) 7.29
05. Gary speaks 1.13
06. Coral (Jarrett) 7.22
07. Question & Answer (Metheny) 7.43
08. Question & Answer (continued) (Metheney) 8.31
09. Pat speaks + B & G (Midwestern Nights Dream) (Metheney) 8.56
10. Syndrome (Bley) 5.26
11. Improvisational Intro to Angel Eyes (Thomas) 3.17
12. Angel Eyes (Thomas) 5.25
13. O Grande Amor (Jobim/de Moraes) 7.00
14. Blue Comedy (Gibbs) 8.40
15. Como En Vietnam (Swallow) 7.48
16. Applause 2.00
17. Unquity Road (Metheney) 5.18
18. Applause 1.37
19. Las Vegas Tango (Evans) 7.48
Live2l* (coming soon)


Gary Burton – The Groovy Sound Of Music (1965)

FrontCover1Aside from “My Favorite Things,” jazz musicians haven’t been particularly drawn to songs from The Sound of Music, so the Groovy Sound of Music songbook by Gary Burton is quite a treat. Recorded in late 1964 for RCA Victor, the young vibraphonist’s incredible four-mallet technique is already well developed. Gary McFarland contributed four of the charts, backing Burton with strings, flutes, a French horn, and a rhythm section. Among his arrangements are a swinging “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and a gentle bossa nova treatment of “An Ordinary Couple.” Burton is also no slouch as an arranger. One highlight is the incredible interaction between the leader and Bob Brookmeyer’s valve trombone and Phil Wood’s hot clarinet in “Maria.” Equally compelling is Burton’s driving approach to “My Favorite Things” (a complex chart that doesn’t resort to copying John Coltrane’s well-known recording), which hardly sounds like the work of a 21 year old. Even better is his gorgeous solo rendition of “Edelweiss.” (Ken Dryden, AMG)

This little-known gem features young vibist Gary Burton performing renditions of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s popular pieces from The Sound Of Music, with a New York City studio orchestra featuring Phil Woods, Steve Swallow, Art Farmer and Bob Brookmeyer. Burton did a wonderful job arranging four of the eight tunes here. The other four tunes (“Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “An Ordinary Couple,” “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” and “The Sound Of Music”) are encased in even more outstanding – and highly individualized – arrangements by fellow vibist and Berklee alum, Gary McFarland. Burton, who had already devised his own signature sound at this point in time, easily stands in for McFarland, a less accomplished vibraphone player. But McFarland’s arrangements – a sort of clever nursery rhyme as recited by string quartet alternating with minimal woodwind commentary – are stupendous. Particularly on “Climb” and “An Ordinary Couple,” McFarland’s inventions are breathtaking: a sort of cross between his own Broadway-goes-jazz of How To Succeed In Business and the much more spectacular and personal The October Suite. Burton sounds natural and reflexive on these melodic pieces, perfectly interacting with McFarland’s lovely set dressings. It is a shame such a hidden treasure as The Groovy Sound Of Music can’t be appreciated by more of either vibist’s fans. It’s absolutely worth hearing and savoring. (Doug Payne)

Recorded at RCA Victor’s Studio A in New York City on December 21 & 22, 1964

Bob Brookmeyer (trombone)
Gary Burton (vibraphone)
Joe Hunt (drums)
Joe Puma (guitar)
Steve Swallow (bass)
Phil Woods (clarinet, saxophone)

01. Climb Ev’ry Mountain 4.50
02. Maria 3.34
03. An Ordinary Couple 4.50
04. My Favorite Things 5.55
05. Sixteen Going on Seventeen 4.30
06. Do-Re-Mi 3.50
07. Edelweiss 3.03
08. The Sound of Music 5.27

Music written by Oscar Hammerstein II & Richard Rodgers