This recording is most notable for documenting the young guitarist Pat Metheny's short but important stint as a member of vibraphonist Gary Burton's group. Actually Metheny at the time was the least known of the five players (which also include guitarist Mick Goodrick, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bob Moses) and his contributions are not as significant as those of Burton and composer Carla Bley who contributed all six of the originals. The moody music, which still sounds quite fresh, is highlighted by the title cut, "Ictus/Syndrome" and "Intermission Music."
Vibraphone innovator Gary Burton recorded a wealth of material for ECM during his 15 year tenure with the label. His anthology highlights the exceptional groups he led in the 1970s and 1980s. Burton’s quartets, quintets, and sextets introduced many remarkable players to a wider public, and these selections feature inspired performances by Pat Metheny, Mick Goodrick, Steve Swallow, Eberhard Weber, Bob Moses, Makoto Ozone and more. “We toured up to two hundred days a year,” Burton recalls. “The recordings we made were snapshots of the evolution of my working bands during this highly productive period.”
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. The excitement on the cover here is very well-placed – and RCA clearly knows they've got something special on their hands – the launch of vibist Gary Burton as a leader – a force in jazz that would continue strongly for decades to come! At the time of the record, Burton had already been making waves as a session player on the Nashville scene – where RCA had some especially strong ears – but he's launched here in a mode that's quite far from those roots, and already filled with those modern, chromatic modes that would have Burton pushing the sound of the vibes forward strongly throughout his career – even on an early record like this! The group is very like-minded, and well-chosen – players who are spacious and modern, but never too much so – a quartet with Jim Hall on guitar, Chuck Israels on bass, and Larry Bunker on drums.
Gary Burton, the astonishing virtuoso of the vibraphone. A child prodigy who achieved renown among musicians who marveled at his dazzling technique and originality of conception. Throughout a long career that traversed Nashville, George Shearing, Stan Getz, psychedelia, improvisation, free jazz, jazz rock and fusion, he retained a creative disposition; looking always to broaden his musical horizon and to push the boundaries of musical convention. Burton's innovations include the revival and adaptation of the use of a four mallet technique which enabled him to significantly increase the scope of his sound.
When one thinks of pairing vibraphonist Gary Burton with another soloist, Chick Corea comes foremost to mind. Burton’s work with guitarist Ralph Towner could hardly be more different, for where the former configuration funnels into a colorful storm of activity, in the latter we find far more intimate gestures articulated in monochrome. Case in point: “Maelstrom,” which starts us on the inside, spinning on its edge like a coin teetering at the promise of rest. Towner is as delicate as ever, fitting his harmonic staircases into Burton’s Escherian architecture with ease. This piece also highlights Towner’s compositional talents, which make up eight of the album’s nine tracks (the only exception being the slice of sonic apple pie that is “Blue In Green”).
For his GRP debut, vibraphonist Gary Burton reunited with his alumnus, guitarist John Scofield, interacted with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Peter Erskine, and welcomed guest tenor Michael Brecker to two of the eight selections. Performing originals by Makoto Ozone, Vince Mendoza, Jay Leonhart ("Robert Frost"), Chick Corea and Scofield, plus his own "Was It So Long Ago," Burton sounds fine on the diverse material. Since John Scofield had not had an opportunity to record with the vibraphonist during his year with Burton's Quartet more than a decade earlier, this fine set made up for lost time.