Gary Burton Quartet: Live Last Night
"The 6:30 start time is working good for you," Gary Burton joked to a dinner crowd at the Rams Head Tavern last night. The room was packed with boomers old enough to recall when the vibraphonist formed his acclaimed quartet in the mid-'60s. But the current edition of the ensemble can't be accused of merely trafficking in nostalgia, even when it evokes the early days of jazz-rock fusion.
(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)
That much was obvious by the time Burton first addressed the audience, following the quartet's freshly configured arrangements of Chick Corea's "Sea Journey," Carla Bley's "Olhos de Gato" and Steve Swallow's "Falling Grace." As you might expect of a band featuring Burton, bass guitarist Swallow and guitarist Pat Metheny, there was no shortage of exquisitely honed interplay, sleek reharmonizations and chamber-jazz atmospherics.
Yet an air of freewheeling improvisation often prevailed, especially as the concert progressed. Burton frequently used his signature four-mallet attack to add lift to soaring chromatic flights. Metheny turned "Walter L," a Burton-penned tribute to late guitar great Hank Garland, into a brashly exuberant, funk-charged romp. And drummer Antonio Sanchez made certain that the ensemble's trademark finesse was balanced by a kinetic brand of rhythmic interplay and his own potent, full-kit thrust.
Punctuating the show were a couple of vibes and guitar duets, including a thrumming, triple-meter take on "Summertime." Nothing, though, rivaled the quartet's colorfully woven and vibrantly propelled performances.
-- MIKE JOYCE
By J. Freedom du Lac |
June 24, 2009; 11:47 AM ET
Live Last Night
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