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Gary Burton

American vibraphonist and composer

Armando Bellmas
Armando Bellmas
Gary Burton

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to legendary jazz vibraphonist and composer Gary Burton. Burton was bridging rock and jazz in groundbreaking ways in the late sixties and early seventies, similar to what Miles Davis and Charles Lloyd were doing, but each in his distinct mode. Today's song is Burton's version of a Gil Evans composition, grittier and groovier than Evans's already lush and vibrant original.

You'll go deeper with an excerpt from and a link to an interview with Gary Burton and his quartet in 1969—which included Steve Swallow, Bill Goodwin, and Dave Pritchard—on National Jazz Archive.


"Las Vegas Tango" by Gary Burton
1970 | American vibraphonist and composer


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Gary Burton (in 1969): There are a lot of musicians who sincerely believe in the combination of [jazz and pop, who] are jazz players who have found a lot of meaning in the newer pop music that has come along in the last decade, that wasn’t here before, and feel that they’re limiting themselves if they play just traditional-type jazz and don’t play some of these other things that they like. Then there are the rock players who want to expand their setting, and make use of more extended improvisations, experiments and things that up to now have been the special luxury of jazz musicians or classical composers.

And there’s a great number of musicians from both sides who are involved in crossing the border and using the other music, with the most serious of intentions. There have been instances, of course, of people trying to go pop to sell more records; that goes on. But you have to take seriously many of those engaged in trying to make a music for themselves out of the mixing of the two.

Some very good records have been made in this middle area. Dare I say it? – ourselves [in the Gary Burton quartet]. We’re involved in this area, and I consider us to be very serious; and we’re not actually trying to combine the two. Some ambitions are to blend the musics as equally as possible. Ours, on the other hand, is just to make use of whatever is available. A lot of our music would be considered jazz in the traditional sense of playing on a song; other songs are not so stylistically reminiscent of jazz. We’re not just trying to create a new hybrid music.

United States

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