With longtime bassist Steve Swallow, the return of drummer Roy Haynes, and the debut of guitarist Jerry Hahn, Gary Burton's second quartet continued his open-minded policy toward other styles of music. In addition to both melodic and advanced jazz, Burton incorporates elements of country, rock, pop and even classical music on this fairly rare LP, Country Roads and Other Places. Whether it be a "Ravel Prelude," "Wichita Breakdown" or "My Foolish Heart," the music is full of logical surprises that foreshadow the eclectic nature of much of '80s and '90s jazz.
For his first album for the Concord jazz imprint, vibraphonist Gary Burton goes back: back to some of the most enduring compositions in the jazz lexicon, constructing the program on Departure completely from jazz standards, except for "Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs" (the theme from the television show Frasier). Along with guitarist John Scofield, drummer Peter Erskine, pianist Fred Hersch, and bassist John Patitucci, Burton also returns here to the quicksilver, porcelain sound of the George Shearing quintet, Burton's first job after graduating from the Berklee College of Music…
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.
Reissue with the latest 2014 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. While the concept of "jazz-rock" was in its embryonic stages, Burton was experimenting with a style combining jazz improvisation with rock energy and rhythms. This 1967 session added another ingredient to the musical mix: country and bluegrass sensibility. Burton used Nashville session players like bassist/harmonica player Charlie McCoy, the great Chet Atkins, fiddler Buddy Spicher, and pedal steel guitarist Buddy Emmons. The results were impressive and artistically intriguing; the country players provided a loose, loping feel, while Burton's solos were smooth and delicate but forceful enough to hold the distinct styles together.
Gary Burton's peculiar connection and affinity for great guitarists is a proven historical fact, as he has been responsible for bringing such fantastic musicians to the world stage as Larry Coryell and Pat Metheny. On Six Pack, he joins with six different six-stringers for some decidedly varied modern jazz. Kurt Rosenwinkel makes like Metheny on the first track, the up-tempo Mitch Forman composition "Anthem." Any predictability to the song disappears in the presence of the rhythm section of Jack DeJohnette, Steve Swallow, and Mulgrew Miller. One doesn't generally think of the vibes as a blues instrument, and to be fair, it's really not, but Burton gives it the old college try on the title track, where his vibes intersect surprisingly well with Bob Berg's tenor sax and B.B. King's guitar.
For Crystal Silence, the first of several partnerships between Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton in the 1970s, the two musicians selected an interesting array of material. The compositions on this record are all modern ones, either by Steve Swallow, Mike Gibbs, or Corea himself. It is a mostly down-tempo affair, which allows each player to stretch out and play highly melodic solos over the often difficult changes. In keeping with most ECM releases, there is a distinct presence of European elements to the improvisations. There are few overt blues or bebop phrases, Corea and Burton opting instead for modern melodies to fuel their improvisations. Burton has managed to internalize the Spanish and modal implications of Corea's tunes with little difficulty, and solos with joyful ease through such tracks as "Seсor Mouse."
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.