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.”
Once Gary Burton retired from his duties at Berklee, he began to scale back his touring with a full-time quartet. In 2010, he assembled a new band with the phenomenal young guitarist Julian Lage (who first sat in with the vibraphonist at the age of 12), veteran bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Antonio Sanchez, all of whom have recorded as bandleaders themselves. Six of the CD's ten tracks were contributed by the quartet's members, starting with Colley's intricate "Never the Same Way," which incorporates a Latin flavor in its tricky 7/4 meter. Sanchez contributed the infectious cooker "Common Ground" (featuring great solos all around and capturing the spirit of Burton's earlier quartets), and "Did You Get It?" a lively blues with a playful call-and-response between Lage and Burton in its introduction.
Not only does this LP feature a "new quartet," but it marks the beginning of Gary Burton's longtime association with ECM. In general, Burton's ECM dates were more introverted and laid-back than his more diverse Atlantic releases, but they always had their moments of interest. On this set, the vibraphonist, guitarist Mick (then known as Michael) Goodrick, bassist Abraham Laboriel, and drummer Harry Blazer perform numbers by Chick Corea ("Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly"), Keith Jarrett ("Coral"), Gordon Beck, Carla Bley, and Mike Gibbs, in addition to Burton's "Brownout." Intriguing if not essential music.
This CD contains some interesting material not found elsewhere. Recorded live at Palace of Festivals Theatre in Cannes, France in January 1981 and January 1983, the disc features Metheny, Gary Burton, the Heath Brothers, Ahmad Jamal, and the Hum Trio. It is very hard to find and available only on the Fruit Tree (Italy) label (1999). Highly recommended, this CD will be irrestible to fans of quartet-format jazz or any of the artists, who seem to have been captured at their best.
After a decade of leading quartets that matched his vibes with a variety of top young guitarists, Gary Burton decided that it was time for a change. While he is joined by a pair of longtime associates (bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Roy Haynes), the fourth member of the group on this set is the young trumpeter Tiger Okoshi. Since Burton has never been a major composer, the CD reissue finds the group playing five Swallow originals, two by Keith Jarrett, and Jim Hall's "Careful." Okoshi's presence adds more fire to this session than was typical of most of Burton's previous records. A fine outing.
Live album from Gary Burton. Recorded live in Nice, June, 1969. Re-Mastered at Kojima Recordings, Inc., Licensed by Sunkyo Music Co., Ltd. Original Recording by Joker Tonverlag Ag.