The New Gary Burton Quartet – Common Ground – Mack Avenue

by | Jun 14, 2011 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

The New Gary Burton Quartet – Common Ground – Mack Avenue MAC1061 [6/7/11] *****:

(Gary Burton, vibes; Scott Colley, doublebass; Julian Lage, guitar; Antonio Sanchez, drums)

This is the first studio-recorded album Burton has issued since 2005, and showcases his latest band. The four-mallet-playing Grammy winner has had a variety of quartets over the past five decades, and here returns to the same configuration of players he used in the mid-‘90s.  He is especially excited to be working with guitarist Lage, who Burton knew as a teenage wonder and now has him sitting in the chair formerly held by such other great guitarists as Pat Metheny and John Scofield. Burton says he’s always liked the vibes-guitar sound and wanted that to be central to his new quartet.

Common Ground has ten tunes, of which six are originals by different quartet members, and two are from pianist Vadim Neselovskyi, who was in his previous quartet.  Titled “Late Night Sunrise,” and “Last Snow,” they seem to capture the pianist’s Russian background. Guitarist Lage gets to shine on an interesting arrangement of “My Funny Valentine.”  Drummer Antonio Sanchez contributes two originals, and his “Did You Get It?” has two extra bars added to every other chorus of its 12-bar blues form.  Bassist Colley brings in “Never the Same Way,” which is in 7/4 time but according to Burton doesn’t have that awkward feel that often occurs with odd time signatures. The closer is a Keith Jarrett tune, “In Your Quiet Place,” which he had written for Burton back in 1970 when they played together. Burton played the ballad as a solo for years, but says this is the first for it in a band format. He feels this one is going to be one of the standout bands of his career.

Late Night Sunrise, Never the Sam Way, Common Ground, Was It So Long Ago?, Etude, Last Snow, Did You Get It?, My Funny Valentine, Banksy, In Your Quiet Place.

 — John Henry

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