Quartet Live

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Burton • Metheny • Swallow • Sanchez
LABELS: UCJ
WORKS: Assorted
PERFORMER: Gary Burton (vibraphone), Pat Metheny (guitar), Steve Swallow (bass), Antonio Sanchez (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 723 1303

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Three-quarters of this Quartet had come together by the early 1970s as Burton’s definitive four-piece outfit, with Bob Moses and later Danny Gottlieb occupying the drum throne.

Revisiting a group of this calibre with the added baggage of a pad liberally stuffed with music from that period might smack of a group of old hands reproducing their past to earn their pensions, but not a bit of it; it’s a strategy that works for their contemporaries Corea and McLaughlin (epitomised by the disc I reviewed last month) and it works here, too; this bouncy, tumbling, serpentine jazz-side-of-fusion set sounds completely fresh minted.

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Where it scores – and this only happens between musicians who got inside each others’ playing years ago – is in the uniquely
loose-but-somehow-still-watertight way in which all the parts come together. It’s a live album too, with excellent sound. Roger Thomas