«Gary Burton» - biography, albums, songs, video clips

Gary Burton (born January 23, 1943, Anderson, Indiana) is an American jazz vibraphonist.

Burton developed a pianistic style of four-mallet technique as an alternative to the prevailing two-mallet technique. This approach caused him to be heralded as an innovator and his sound and technique are widely imitated. He is also known for pioneering fusion jazz and popularizing the duet format in jazz, as well as being a major figure in jazz education due to his 30 years at the Berklee College of Music.


Beginning music at six years old, Burton for the most part taught himself to play marimba and vibraphone. He also began studying piano at age sixteen as he finished high school in Princeton, Indiana (56–60). Burton has cited jazz pianist Bill Evans as a main inspiration for his approach toward the vibraphone.

Burton attended Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1960–61. He studied with Herb Pomeroy and soon befriended the composer and arranger Michael Gibbs. After establishing his career during the 1960s, he returned to join the staff of Berklee from 1971–2004, serving first as Professor, then Dean and finally as Executive Vice President during his last decade at the college.

Early in his career, at the behest of noted Nashville saxophonist Boots Randolph, Burton moved to Nashville and recorded with several notable Nashville musicians including guitarist Hank Garland, pianist Floyd Cramer and guitarist Chet Atkins.

After touring both the U.S. and Japan with pianist George Shearing in 1963, Burton went on to play with saxophonist Stan Getz from 1964 to 1966. It was during this time with the Stan Getz Quartet that Burton appeared with the band in a feature film, "Get Yourself a College Girl", playing "Girl From Ipanema" with Astrud Gilberto. In 1967 he formed the Gary Burton Quartet along with guitarist Larry Coryell, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Steve Swallow. Predating the jazz-rock fusion craze of the 1970s, the group's first record, Duster, combined jazz, country and rock and roll elements. However, some of Burton's previous albums (notably Tennessee Firebird and Time Machine, both from 1966) had already shown his inclination toward such experimentation with different genres of popular music. After Coryell left the quartet in the late 1960s, Burton hired a number of well-regarded guitarists: Jerry Hahn, David Pritchard, Mick Goodrick, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and most recently Julian Lage, who plays guitar in Burton's group Next Generation.

Burton was named Down Beat magazine's 'Jazzman of the Year' in 1968 (the youngest ever to receive the title) and won his first Grammy award in 1972. The following year Burton began a now 40-year-long collaboration with pianist Chick Corea, recognized for popularizing the format of jazz duet performance. Their eight recordings together won the pair Grammy awards in years 1979, 1981, 1997, 1999, 2009, and most recently in 2013, for Hot House. Burton has a total of 21 Grammy nominations and seven Grammy wins.

Burton has played with a wide variety of jazz musicians, including Carla Bley, Hank Garland, Gato Barbieri, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Steve Lacy, Pat Metheny, Makoto Ozone, Tiger Okoshi, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, Tommy Smith, Eberhard Weber, Ralph Towner, Peter Erskine, Stephane Grappelli and Ástor Piazzolla.

From 2004 to 2008 Burton hosted a weekly jazz radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio. From September 2006 to April 2008, Burton toured worldwide with Chick Corea celebrating 35 years of working together. More recently Burton toured and recorded in 2009 with Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, and Antonio Sanchez (The Gary Burton Quartet Revisited), reprising music from Burton's 1970s group.

In 2011, Burton released his first project for Mack Avenue Records, entitled Common Ground featuring the New Gary Burton Quartet (with Julian Lage, Scott Colley, and Antonio Sanchez). The group's second release, Guided Tour, was released in August, 2013. Burton's autobiography, Learning To Listen, was published by Berklee Press in August 2013. Burton's available recordings, as of 2013, are mainly those from Atlantic Records, ECM Records, GRP Records, Concord Jazz, and Mack Avenue Records.

Personal life

Following an early marriage in his 20's, Burton married for a second time 1975-84 to Catherine Goldwyn, granddaughter of film producer Samuel Goldwyn (1879–1974). They have two children, Stephanie and Sam, and one grandchild.

By the 1980s, Burton was in a gay relationship and he came out publicly in a 1994 radio interview with Terry Gross, making him one of rather few openly gay jazz musicians of prominence. In 2013, he married his long time partner, Jonathan Chong.


As leader

  • New Vibe Man in Town (RCA, 1961)
  • Who is Gary Burton? (RCA, 1962)
  • 3 in Jazz (RCA, 1963)
  • Something's Coming! (RCA, 1963)
  • The Groovy Sound of Music (RCA, 1964)
  • The Time Machine (RCA, 1966)
  • Tennessee Firebird (RCA, 1966)
  • Duster (RCA, 1967)
  • Lofty Fake Anagram (RCA, 1967)
  • A Genuine Tong Funeral (RCA, 1968) with Carla Bley
  • Gary Burton Quartet in Concert (RCA, 1968)
  • Country Roads & Other Places (RCA, 1969)
  • Throb (Atlantic, 1969)
  • Good Vibes (Atlantic, 1969)
  • Paris Encounter (Atlantic, 1969) with Stephane Grappelli
  • Gary Burton & Keith Jarrett (Atlantic, 1970) with Keith Jarrett
  • Alone at Last (Atlantic, 1971)
  • Crystal Silence (ECM, 1972) with Chick Corea
  • In The Public Interest (Polydor, 1973) with Michael Gibbs
  • The New Quartet (ECM, 1973)
  • Seven Songs For Quartet And Chamber Orchestra (ECM, 1974) featuring music by Mike Gibbs
  • Hotel Hello (ECM, 1974) with Steve Swallow
  • Ring (ECM, 1974) with Eberhard Weber
  • Matchbook (ECM, 1974) with Ralph Towner
  • Dreams So Real (1975) featuring music by Carla Bley (ECM)
  • Passengers (ECM, 1976) with Eberhard Weber
  • Times Square (ECM, 1978)
  • Duet (ECM, 1979) with Chick Corea
  • In Concert, Zurich, October 28, 1979 (ECM, 1980) with Chick Corea
  • Easy as Pie (ECM, 1980)
  • Picture This (ECM, 1982)
  • Lyric Suite for Sextet (ECM, 1982) with Chick Corea
  • Real Life Hits (ECM, 1984)
  • Gary Burton and the Berklee All-Stars (JVC, 1985)
  • Slide Show (ECM, 1986) with Ralph Towner
  • Whiz Kids (ECM, 1986)
  • Times Like These (GRP, 1988)
  • The New Tango (1988) with Ástor Piazzolla
  • Reunion (GRP, 1989) with Pat Metheny, Will Lee, Peter Erskine, Mitchel Forman
  • Right Time, Right Place (GNP Crescendo, 1990) with Paul Bley
  • Cool Nights (GRP, 1991)
  • Six Pack (GRP, 1992)
  • It's Another Day (GRP, 1993)
  • Face to Face (GRP, 1994)
  • Live in Cannes (Jazz World, 1996)
  • Ástor Piazzolla Reunion: A Tango Excursion (Concord Jazz, 1996)
  • Departure (Concord Jazz, 1997)
  • Native Sense - The New Duets with Chick Corea (1997)
  • Like Minds with Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Roy Haynes, and Dave Holland (1998)
  • Alone at Last (solo album/CD) Live cuts 1–3 @ Montreaux Jazz Festival 1971, Studio cuts 4–7. (32jazz, 1999)
  • Libertango: The Music of Ástor Piazzolla (Concord Jazz, 2000)
  • For Hamp, Red, Bags, and Cal (Concord Jazz, 2001)
  • Virtuosi (Concord, 2002)
  • Music of Duke Ellington (LRC Ltd, 2003)
  • Generations (Concord Jazz, 2004)
  • Next Generation (Concord, 2005)
  • Live in Montreux 2002 (Eagle Eye, 2006)
  • L'Hymne a l'Amour (2007) with Richard Galliano
  • The New Crystal Silence (Concord Jazz 2008) with Chick Corea
  • Quartet Live (Concord Jazz 2009) with Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, Antonio Sanchez
  • Common Ground (Mack Avenue) The New Gary Burton Quartet
  • Hot House (Concord Jazz) with Chick Corea
  • Guided Tour The New Gary Burton Quartet

As sideman

With Chet Atkins

  • After the Riot in Newport with the Nashville Allstars (RCA, 1960)

With Bob Brookmeyer

  • Bob Brookmeyer and Friends (Columbia, 1962)

With Bruce Cockburn

  • The Charity of Night (1996)

With Floyd Cramer

  • Last Date (1960)

With Hank Garland

  • Jazz Winds from a New Direction (1960)

With Stan Getz

  • Getz au GoGo (Verve, 1964)
  • Getz/Gilberto No. 2 (Verve, 1964)
  • Nobody Else But Me (Verve, 1964)
  • The Canadian Concert of Stan Getz (Can-Am, 1965)

With k.d. lang

  • Ingénue (Sire, 1992)

With Hubert Laws

  • Wild Flower (Atlantic, 1972)

With Arif Mardin

  • Journey (Atlantic, 1974)

With George Shearing

  • Out of the Woods (1963)

With Steve Swallow

  • SWallow (Watt, 1991)

With Eberhard Weber

  • Fluid Rustle (ECM, 1979)

With Thomas Clausen

  • Cafe Noir (Intermusic, 1991)
  • Flowers And Trees (MA Music Int., 1992)

With Jon Weber

  • Simple Complex (2nd Century Jazz, 2004)


Over the years, Gary Burton has been nominated for 15 Grammy Awards and he has won 7:

Year Recipient Award Result
1972 Alone at Last Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist Won
1979 Duet (with Chick Corea) Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group Won
1982 In Concert, Zürich, October 28, 1979 (with Chick Corea) Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group Won
1998 "Rhumbata", Native Sense (with Chick Corea) Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo Won
2000 Like Minds (with Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Roy Haynes and Dave Holland) Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group Won
2009 The New Crystal Silence (with Chick Corea) Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance Won
2012 Hot House (with Chick Corea) Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo Won

See also

  • Vibraphone
  • List of vibraphonists
  • Category:Gary Burton albums


External links

  • on Jazzwax (2010)