Common Ground

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: New Gary Burton Quartet
LABELS: Mac Avenue
PERFORMER: Gary Burton (vibes), Julian Lage (guitar), Scott Colley (bass), Antonio Sanchez (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: MAC1061

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Having ploughed his own furrow on the vibraphone, the most potentially recalcitrant of musical contraptions, the origins of which lie in the demand for special sonic effects in the theatrical orchestra pit, Gary Burton has now spent around half a century recording music which is at once highly idiosyncratic and yet widely appreciated. Here’s some more of his fine work, presented by what is indeed a new quartet and Burton’s first working band for half a dozen years.

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All the usual magic is present in his garrulous articulations, sprightly dynamics and deft note weightings, but it’s his interaction with recalled alumnus Lage, who largely eschews the soft tinkle of the traditional Archtop Jazz guitar tone in favour of a twanging attack which recalls folk or gypsy swing, that makes this CD an absoloute must-have, That said, the recording quality has to lose a star for occasionally failing to cope with the overtones of Burton’s instrument. Roger Thomas