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Gary Burton Retiring

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I was able to see Gary Burton on several occasions, leading his quartet with Tiger Oshiki, Steve Swallow and a drummer I've forgotten, with Makoto Ozone, Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum (though the drummer never recorded with him), during the Eddie Daniels-Gary Burton tribute to Benny Goodman tour that had Ozone in place of Mulgrew Miller, along with the duo set with Ozone at IAJE that preceded the release of Virtuosi, which featured classical music they revamped. I did a couple of interviews with Burton and he was always thoughtful and very detailed in his responses. It was a joy to hear him praise budding talents like Julian Lage and the joy it gave him to discover and give direction to prodigies. 

He will be missed, I hope he enjoys retirement and that his health stabilizes.

 

Edited by Ken Dryden
eliminated unnecessary word

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Saw Burton live a few times. Enjoyed seeing and hearing  him with Stan Getz. His own groups have been a mixed bag for my taste.

At times his groups had a Rock element that is not really my thing.

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On 2/27/2017 at 2:10 PM, Rooster_Ties said:

I've got to confess, I'm not certain I've ever heard ANY(?!) Gary Burton on record before (though I've certainly been aware of who he was for 20-25 years).

Neither any of his leader-dates, and nothing from his list of sideman appearances either, far as I can see.  (Or if I have, certainly nothing I've ever owned -- maybe a date I borrowed once, a gazillion years ago.)

Basing my statement on the discography here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Burton

Hard to believe this is possible. You've been listening to jazz for a long time! 

 

For you, I'd recommend Duster, Lofty Fake Anagram, Country Roads & Other Places, and Gary Burton Quartet in Concert. 1968-1969. This was a good string of musicians playing around a general concept that seems integral to Gary Burton's musical personality. Obviously, Rod would be better informed than I, but this is how I hear it. 

 

From here, production values change, but the music is there.

 

Gary Burton is a marvel from a technical and virtuostic viewpoint, his music is personal, and he achieves an idiosyncratic sound on an instrument with a fairly narrow timbre. 

 

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The New Quartet, a 1973 ECM album is pretty close to awesome in my book, due in large part to Abraham Laboriel. Was listeining to it last week, caught myself thinking the bass guitar sounds like a 6-string, way more complicated than most rhythm players. Opened his bio on Wikipedia, yep, he started off as a guitar player. FWIW, I think his playing on this album is way deeper than Mick Goodrick's..

As long as I'm on it, how important are Gary Burton's contributions to his instrument? 

Wiki says Gary Burton (born January 23, 1943) is an American jazz vibraphonist, composer and jazz educator. Burton developed a pianistic style of four-mallet technique as an alternative to the prevailing two-mallet technique. This approach caused him to be heralded as an innovator and his sound and technique are widely imitated.[1]

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How important? Are you being facetious Dmitry? :)

 

In 2017, he is practically the only influence on how people approach the vibraphone. 

 

Yes, you will hear Lionel Hampton or Red Norvo in a certain repertoire approach, and there's no shaking Milt Jackson's influence. That would be like an organ player suggesting that he isn't influenced by Jimmy Smith. Bobby Hutcherson is up there. You know how much I love Walt Dickerson. I have recently discovered Bobby Naughton. In fact, I'm basically obsessed.

 

There is a long list of artists on the instrument; however, when it comes to influence, Gary Burton is the one that seems to have most shaped the last forty years. That's multiple generations already. 

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1 hour ago, .:.impossible said:

How important? Are you being facetious Dmitry? :)

 

In 2017, he is practically the only influence on how people approach the vibraphone. 

 

Yes, you will hear Lionel Hampton or Red Norvo in a certain repertoire approach, and there's no shaking Milt Jackson's influence. That would be like an organ player suggesting that he isn't influenced by Jimmy Smith. Bobby Hutcherson is up there. You know how much I love Walt Dickerson. I have recently discovered Bobby Naughton. In fact, I'm basically obsessed.

 

There is a long list of artists on the instrument; however, when it comes to influence, Gary Burton is the one that seems to have most shaped the last forty years. That's multiple generations already. 

No, no facetious. Just want to hear musicians' perspectives on his Wikipedia write-up. Because it's Wikipedia...:rolleyes:

Was he really the pioneer of playing with 4 mallets? 

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No.

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impossible, I wouldn't say that Burton is the ONLY influence on how people approach the vibraphone today.  I'd say that Hutcherson and some of the others that you mentioned have been equally influential.

But I do agree with you that Burton's influence has been tremendous, and in some aspect greater than some of these others due to the fact that Burton's taught at Berklee for so long.

But the "only" influence?!?!  I think that's a stretch. Think about it: Stefon Harris and Warren Wolf are probably the two most popular "younger" vibraphonists out there today, and they're both squarely in the Bags --> Hutcherson lineage.

Edited by HutchFan

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49 minutes ago, Dmitry said:

Was he really the pioneer of playing with 4 mallets? 

I wouldn't say that Burton was "the pioneer" of four-mallet technique.  I would say that he was "a pioneer."

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whatever happened to Jay Hoggard?

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4 hours ago, .:.impossible said:

Hard to believe this is possible. You've been listening to jazz for a long time! 

 

For you, I'd recommend Duster, Lofty Fake Anagram, Country Roads & Other Places, and Gary Burton Quartet in Concert. 1968-1969. This was a good string of musicians playing around a general concept that seems integral to Gary Burton's musical personality. Obviously, Rod would be better informed than I, but this is how I hear it. 

 

From here, production values change, but the music is there.

 

Gary Burton is a marvel from a technical and virtuostic viewpoint, his music is personal, and he achieves an idiosyncratic sound on an instrument with a fairly narrow timbre. 

 

An "outlier" but a very good one IMHO is A Genuine Tong Funeral.

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52 minutes ago, JSngry said:

whatever happened to Jay Hoggard?

I don't know.

He made some excellent records with Anthony Davis and Chico Freeman back in the late-70s and early-80s.  But I haven't really heard anything from him since then.

 

Speaking of Anthony Davis... He's another guy that seemed to just disappear from the scene. 

Edited by HutchFan

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Jay Hoggard still plays.

 

We can list every musician that ever played four mallets. They've all influenced each other, and all of the vibraphonists that we haven't heard of. That doesn't change Burton's influence. Major educator, fifty years of recordings, well-documented on video and in print, the most widely used grip technique named after him. 

 

He was was most definitely a pioneer. Perhaps the pioneer. Inventor? No. 

Edited by .:.impossible

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I will say this about Burton: Crystal Silence was THE record that turned me on to ECM. And I think that all of the records that Burton made with Corea are -- at a minimum -- excellent. 

I really like this Burton LP too -- and I only heard it for the first time recently:

61HJS%2BmL5yL._SS400.jpg

Not at all the meditative thing that Burton had going with Corea.  On this one, Roy Haynes throws down.

 

 

OTOH: I've never been able to make headway into the records Burton made with Eberhard Weber -- Passengers and Ring.  Same with Burton's record of Carla Bley compositions, Dreams So Real.  . . . Other folks love 'em though.  So make of it what you will! ;) 

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2 hours ago, HutchFan said:

I will say this about Burton: Crystal Silence was THE record that turned me on to ECM. And I think that all of the records that Burton made with Corea are -- at a minimum -- excellent. 

I really like this Burton LP too -- and I only heard it for the first time recently:

61HJS%2BmL5yL._SS400.jpg

Not at all the meditative thing that Burton had going with Corea.  On this one, Roy Haynes throws down.

 

 

OTOH: I've never been able to make headway into the records Burton made with Eberhard Weber -- Passengers and Ring.  Same with Burton's record of Carla Bley compositions, Dreams So Real.  . . . Other folks love 'em though.  So make of it what you will! ;) 

Yeah Time's Square is a good one. Slightly lesser known for some reason.

Burton's discography is varied. Not *as* all over the map as Corea for example but similar in that there may be particular albums that you can dig but others might not be your cup of tea. His pre-fusion stuff is really enjoyable straight ahead jazz for example. 

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From the db interview I posted Wednesday:

Do you take the credit for creating the four-mallet technique?

What I take credit for is popularizing it. There were plenty of examples of players using four mallets before I came along. In fact, there are some recordings from the 1930s with Red Norvo playing the xylophone that are pretty impressive. So, I got the credit because I got popular with it. Then, somebody started to call my way of holding the mallets the “Burton grip,” and it has stuck. And I wasn’t even the first one to use that way of holding the mallets.

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I'm not claiming that he is everyone's favorite player. Not at all. He's amazing to me, but I tend to prefer the albums I listed above, plus A Genuine Tong Funeral, Dreams So Real. I haven't heard Crystal Silence or Times Square. I'm sure I'll come across them one day. It's been some time since I've been able to buy records the way I want to buy records. In the past and future, I would buy a Gary Burton record in a used bin without hesitation. I've grown to like some more than others. Some just weren't for me. 

I'm a Bags, Hutch, Walt, and suddenly out of nowhere Bobby Naughton (I blame all of y'all for not pushing me toward him twenty years ago) nut.

Regarding influence...

I think everyone is still trying to find their own way to get out from underneath him, Bobby, and Bags. To this day. There are many excellent vibes players all across the world. Many! LH Stevens, who is discussed at length in Jim's link above, is a marimba great and most recently the head of premium vibraphone builder Malletech. They endorse Stefon Harris, Warren Wolf, both mentioned earlier. Joe Locke and Tony Miceli are the other two. They are all brilliant players in their own right! I don't think it would offend them to read this. I hope not! 

 

Gary Burton is freakishly good at his instrument. 

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3 hours ago, JSngry said:

whatever happened to Jay Hoggard?

He still plays, but has also been teaching at Wesleyan for the 20 years or so.

To prove the point, he's here on the left in a photo I took there ten years ago (with C. Calloway Brooks & Hankus Netsky).

4327066521_62c3e0f11f.jpg

 

Edited by alankin

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Lots on YouTube. Here he is a few years ago in CT. 

 

 

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Khan Jamal, another one who has escaped Burton's influence!

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All the more the point - if they were contemporaries and were hearing the same things, roughly, there would be some overlap of some kind. I don't hear any.

Frankly, I'm trying to think of any vibes player I listen to with any even semi-regularity who carry an over Burton influence, I can't think of any.

Which is not to say that he has not had a huge influence, I'm aware that he has. It's just that he's influenced a bunch of people I don't listen to, I guess.

Also...between Walt Dickerson, Earl Griffith, and Al Francis, there was already a counter-Bags thing developing before both Hutcherson and Burton. Never mind what they were doing with and to the instrument over there in the avant-classical world, those guys just didn't give a damn about what you were supposed to do with ANY instrument.

Don't want to diminish Burton's skills, which are rich, nor his voice, which has been unique. But as far as "influence"...in my world, not so much. When I got into things, the RCAs were all out of print, the Atlantic stuff, with the exception of the side with Jarrett, seemed unnecessary (and the album with Grappelli absolutely vomitorious, although that's as much or more on the violinist as it is anybody), and then the early things on ECM which still remain compelling. And then, I stopped hearing anything relevant to anywhere I was going, and haven't really since.

Having now had a chance to hear the original RCA Quartet records, though, I dig them. Now. didn't hear them then. And I do dig a comment that Burton made at one point that people who heard Beatles records were going to be incapable of playing like they hadn't, which is a very solid point that has played out in any number of ways (as it has with Ornette, Cecil, Trane, Roscoe, the list goes on).Just saying that for me personally, Gary Burton has never been a primary voice in my head, or even a primary secondary voice. He's a guy who was always there and who made a few good records that I listened to when I thought about them. I just didn't think about them all that much.

 

Still/But - I do get that he's had a lot of musical/personal identity/pride differences which he has dealt with as strengths to be built on instead of obstacles to try to walk away from. No doubt, that accounts for his chippy attitude about a lot of shit, but hey, go for that, always be true to who you are, But that's a different thing than do I really like his records all THATmuch, ya' know?

fwiw - Jamal is 3 years younger than Burton, but didn't start playing until the mid-1960s, by which timeBurton was a known name among players. Duster was out in 1967, so there would have been ample opportunity for a young vibist such as Jamal to "hear the call" if there was a call to hear.

 

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Jay Hoggard has a fairly new 2 cd set available through CD Baby that sounds promising.  I have seen some of his commentary through a mutual facebook friend,  I believe he teaches at the university level as well as recording.

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

All the more the point - if they were contemporaries and were hearing the same things, roughly, there would be some overlap of some kind. I don't hear any.

Frankly, I'm trying to think of any vibes player I listen to with any even semi-regularity who carry an over Burton influence, I can't think of any.

Which is not to say that he has not had a huge influence, I'm aware that he has. It's just that he's influenced a bunch of people I don't listen to, I guess.

Also...between Walt Dickerson, Earl Griffith, and Al Francis, there was already a counter-Bags thing developing before both Hutcherson and Burton. Never mind what they were doing with and to the instrument over there in the avant-classical world, those guys just didn't give a damn about what you were supposed to do with ANY instrument.

Don't want to diminish Burton's skills, which are rich, nor his voice, which has been unique. But as far as "influence"...in my world, not so much. When I got into things, the RCAs were all out of print, the Atlantic stuff, with the exception of the side with Jarrett, seemed unnecessary (and the album with Grappelli absolutely vomitorious, although that's as much or more on the violinist as it is anybody), and then the early things on ECM which still remain compelling. And then, I stopped hearing anything relevant to anywhere I was going, and haven't really since.

Having now had a chance to hear the original RCA Quartet records, though, I dig them. Now. didn't hear them then. And I do dig a comment that Burton made at one point that people who heard Beatles records were going to be incapable of playing like they hadn't, which is a very solid point that has played out in any number of ways (as it has with Ornette, Cecil, Trane, Roscoe, the list goes on).Just saying that for me personally, Gary Burton has never been a primary voice in my head, or even a primary secondary voice. He's a guy who was always there and who made a few good records that I listened to when I thought about them. I just didn't think about them all that much.

 

Still/But - I do get that he's had a lot of musical/personal identity/pride differences which he has dealt with as strengths to be built on instead of obstacles to try to walk away from. No doubt, that accounts for his chippy attitude about a lot of shit, but hey, go for that, always be true to who you are, But that's a different thing than do I really like his records all THATmuch, ya' know?

fwiw - Jamal is 3 years younger than Burton, but didn't start playing until the mid-1960s, by which timeBurton was a known name among players. Duster was out in 1967, so there would have been ample opportunity for a young vibist such as Jamal to "hear the call" if there was a call to hear.

 

Gary Burton has made a major impact on the instrument. No two ways about it. He and Khan Jamal and the rest of his contemporaries  sound so very different. Can't say I know Al Francis and I only know of the one late fifties Earl Griffith record with Cecil's group. 

 

I can't say how available everyone's records were, or how aware they were of each other.

 

I don't know much/anything about Gary Burton's personal life and I've skipped almost everything with Stefan Grapelli on it, period.

 

No accounting for taste, but you'll have to take my word for it, or hang out on some vibraphone forums for a few moments, that jazz vibraphone performance (should that be in quotes?) definitely went one way.  

 

Real quick YouTube search. 27k views. Khan Jamal or Gary Burton? 

 

 

 

Also, if you haven't checked out Bobby Naughton's records, http://www.bobbynaughton.com/buymusic.php

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