Gary Burton Quartet Plays Jorgensen Cabaret Tonight
Not one to rest on his seven Grammys and 50 years of knowhow at the heights of the jazz scene, Gary Burton stops on his 70th birthday tour with the New Gary Burton Quartet to kick off Jorgensen's new season tonight, Sept. 26, 2013, at UConn in Storrs. Not your grandfather's septuagenarian, Burton just released in August his quartet's second album, "Guided Tour," and his autobiography, Learning to Listen (Berklee Press).
Burton's newest group includes guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Their first album, "Common Ground," released in 2011, included six originals by quartet members.
Burton and pianist Chick Corea, who boast a four-decade association, picked up a 2013 Grammy Award for their most recent project, "Hot House." Burton first recorded at age 17 and has played with the greats, nurturing early artists such as Pat Metheny in the '70s and Lage, who he first recorded with in 2004 when Lage was 15.
The pioneer of the four-mallet technique on vibraphone, Burton creates a Signature Sound, akin to the piano chord, on an instrument that is often mono or duo syllabic. A former executive at the Berklee School of Music, he is at his best working with the young lion, innovating, teaching, and celebrating improvisation. He developed Berklee's first online courses, recently expanding his web presence through a course in improvisation for Coursera, which signed up 25,000 students two months before its launch.
Formed in 2010, the new quartet sold out its run at the Blue Note that fall and began recording in December. "Since my very first group in 1967, I can count maybe three times that one of my groups over the years clicked so perfectly," Burton says.
In his upcoming autobiography, Burton traces his steady work as a musician in rural Indiana in his high school years, before heading for Nashville, recording the very first jazz-and-country album (with guitarist Hank Garland), and scoring a major-label record contract, before entering the Berklee College of Music at 17 in 1960. Burton credits Garland for turning him on to the guitar/vibes sound, saying, "The sound of the two instruments together has an ideal timbre and coolness." Burton's new book is a personal story of not only his musical journey but his life as one of only a few openly gay musicians in jazz.