LIVE: Chick Corea & Gary Burton @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 10/17/12

October 22nd, 2012, 3:00 pm by Greg

Review by J Hunter

The audience at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall didn’t just know Chick Corea and Gary Burton because of their respective (and impeccable) musical resumes. They knew them because everybody’s met one example of these guys sometime in their lives – i.e. two people who’ve been together so long, they complete each other’s sentences. It’s an effect that goes beyond marriages, beyond families.

“That’s a song we’ve been playing for 40 years,” Corea told us at the end of Tadd Dameron’s “Hot House,” the title track from Corea and Burton’s latest recorded collaboration. Corea’s smile really lit up the space, something it did not do in the first set: Some sort of foreign object (a piano-tuner’s tool, presumably) had gotten wedged inside the piano, and it was noticeably effecting the sound of the instrument – not enough to stop the show, or even to damage the overall beauty of the first set, but it definitely put Corea off his mental game.

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Win FREE TIX to Chick Corea & Gary Burton @ the Troy Music Hall on Wednesday!

October 15th, 2012, 12:00 pm by Greg

Jazz piano great Chick Corea + vibraphone virtuoso Gary Burton = one stellar night of simply sparkling music…

It’s been four decades since Corea and Burton released their landmark debut duet album, Crystal Silence, and over the years, they’ve recorded several more truly magnificent albums.

In fact, they released a brand new album, Hot House, just last month, in which the duo explores gems from the catalogs of such diverse composers as Dave Brubeck, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Lennon & McCartney.

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LIVE: Chick Corea & Gary Burton @ Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, 8/26/12

August 30th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
Chick Corea, Gary Burton and the Harlem String Quartet

Chick Corea, Gary Burton and the Harlem String Quartet

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Hilary Scott

This weekend will be the first Labor Day weekend without the traditional, end-of-the-season Tanglewood Jazz Festival, which has been replaced with a string of pop and rock concerts – the return of Train with Andy Grammer and Mat Kearney at 7pm on Friday; Evanescence with Chevelle at 7pm on Saturday; and the Boston Pops Orchestra with Christine Ebersole, Betty Buckley and Michael Feinstein at 2:30pm on Sunday.

But don’t think that the folks at Tanglewood have abandoned their commitment to jazz. Instead of one big festival weekend, this year they spread some top-notch jazz concerts throughout the summer months, hosting individual concerts by Diana Krall, Chris Botti, the Wynton Marsalis Quintet and this past Sunday evening, the sparkling duo Chick Corea and Gary Burton.

It’s been four decades since pianist-composer Chick Corea and vibraphone virtuoso Gary Burton released their magnificent debut duet album, “Crystal Silence.” So it may have been safe to assume that their 40th anniversary tour would find the twosome reflecting on the past and cherry-picking nuggets from their back-catalog.

But Corea and Burton didn’t play it safe. And at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, their focus was on the future rather than the past.

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INTERVIEW: The magic of Gary Burton and guitars

June 25th, 2009, 10:10 am by Greg

Throughout his long and varied musical career, veteran jazz vibraphonist, educator and six-time Grammy Award-winner Gary Burton has made great music with a parade of A-list jazzmen including pianists Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, sax master Michael Brecker, violinist Stephane Grappelli and tango master Astor Piazzola.

But certainly one of his greatest talents is the very special knack that he possesses for discovering guitarists and transforming them into six-string phenoms.

“Sometimes they find me – Pat Metheny, for instance,” Burton points out. “Pat was a teenager when he approached me at a college jazz festival out in Kansas. He said, ‘Hey, I’m your biggest fan. I know all of your songs. I want to play with you.’ And that’s how that started.

“Other times, I was fortunate enough to discover players at Berklee School of Music,” the Boston college where Burton was a fixture, first as professor and later as dean and administrator, for more than 30 years. “A lot of the really talented young players from all around the world show up at Berklee before anyone else had a chance to see them. And that’s how I found John Scofield and Kurt Rosenwinkel and a few others.

“And sometimes I do just go after them – Julian Lage, for example, who I saw on the television broadcast of the Grammy Awards show when he was just 12 years old. I thought to myself, ‘Wow! This kid can actually play.'”

The sonic combination of the vibes and guitar seems to be a magical match in Burton’s hands.

“There is a sound thing that happens with the vibes and the guitar,” he explains. “The instruments don’t sound alike, so you can hear the vibes separately from the guitar, and you can easily identify both instruments individually.

“But if you play vibes and guitar in unison, they blend together into a new kind of sound that you might call ‘the guitar vibes.’ It’s a full, fat sound that gives you a strong ensemble alternative to just the two separate voices. As instrumentation in a small group, the vibes-and-guitar combination is very versatile. You can make it work in those two different ways in a lot of different settings.


While Burton may very well have mastered the sound of vibes and guitar in tandem, he’s quick to point out that he didn’t invent it.

“I wish I could take credit for coming up with the idea. But in fact my very first professional job when I was 17 years old was when I was hired by the Nashville guitar player Hank Garland, who wanted to make a jazz record for his label, CBS. So I spent the summer after I finished high school living in Nashville and playing with him in a club on weekends. And that’s when I was introduced to this special instrumental sound of the vibes and guitar. It was just something that Hank imagined.

“There were no vibraphone players in Nashville at the time. So Hank put the word out, ‘Hey, I’m looking for a vibraphone player to use on this record. Anybody got any suggestions?’ Lucky for me, another Nashville musician – saxophonist Boots Randolph – knew me and recommended me to Hank. That’s how it all came together for me – a real back-door entry into the jazz world, to be sure.”

The Gary Burton Quartet Revisited – featuring Pat Metheny, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Antonio Sanchez – will be playing at the Freihofer’s Jazz Festival on the mainstage at SPAC in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, June 27.

You can also hear the same band on the recently released CD, Quartet Live, on Concord Records.

Gary Burton, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

June 24th, 2009, 9:05 am by Greg

 Photo by Tom Beetz (released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License)

Photo by Tom Beetz (released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License)

“I started playing music when I was 6 years old, and shortly afterward my parents bought me a little record player, so I don’t really remember the very first record I had.

I would get whatever I could. I lived in Indiana and the nearest record store was in another town about an hour away. My father would drive me out there every Saturday, and one of those times when I was about 11 or 12, I happened to buy a Benny Goodman album. And that’s the record that really changed my life. I loved the energy, the improvisation, the excitement.

So then every week I’d look through this one tiny bin of jazz records, hoping that the store had got something new in that week. That was my introduction to jazz and to my whole musical career, in a way.”

(Jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton will lead the Gary Burton Quartet Revisited in concert at the Freihofer’s Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 27. And be sure to check back on Thursday for our interview with him.)

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