(Mack Avenue Records MAC1074)
Burton has become jazz’s grandaddy of the vibes. He has been around professionally for five decades now, regularly rejuvenating his band with young players, and has lost none of his power despite having turned 70 in January.
He has a particularly sharp eye for a guitarist just starting out and Burton band alumni of the six-string variety include Pat Metheny and John Scofield. The latest is Julian Lage, who has a remarkable style which combines an old-school, sometimes gipsyish feel with very modern harmony.
Drummer Antonio Sanchez brings a Latin tinge to some of the mostly original tunes and the firm centre of the band is bassist Scott Colley.
The material comes from all the band, and includes Latin tinges in Sanchez’s opener, Caminos, a tango from Burton in remembrance of Astor Piazzolla called Remembering Tano, a stately Legacy from Colley, and a charming Lage piece which starts out as a ballad with break-outs before developing a drive: it’s called Helena.
The fresh, light and versatile vibes/electric guitar sound is one that Burton has made his own – I seem to have been listening to this particular blend of timbres in his records all my life – and this is a superb example of his sophisticated but most accessible art.
- The New Gary Burton Quartet is playing at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on Sunday. More information here.
Categories: CD review