JJ 06/90: Gary Burton – Reunion

A review by Mark Gilbert, first published in Jazz Journal June 1990

Jazzmen are so unpredictable. Writing on the sleeve of his 1988 Times Like These album. Burton said ‘I still don’t feel that I’m going to work with guitarists any­time soon’. Yet within 12 months or so, he has taken up with his old sideman Pat Metheny after a break of 12 years.

Buoyant and Latinate, this set contrasts significantly with ear­lier Burton/Metheny liaisons. Bur­ton, reticent as ever about his writing abilities, has employed five composers across 11 tracks (including the excellent Vince Mendoza), but there is no lack of cohesion. Everything is beauti­fully executed, and Burton and Metheny take a host of solos.

Advertisement

The latter’s recent group albums have demonstrated a wholesale return to extended soloing, and it can only be a matter of time before Metheny follows fellow fusioneers Benson, Ritenour and Carlton and cuts a collection of smoking standards. He might even go so far as to retire the charmless guitar synth heard on Panama. Standards would also be eminently preferable to the three pallid Metheny charts here.

The rhythm section cruise like a finely tuned engine. It’s espe­cially interesting to hear Will Lee in such an elegant setting, and likewise Mitch Forman, who has rarely been heard to play with such grace. His string synth appears to supply the superb piz­zicato effect at the close of Autumn‘s theme.

Minor reservations aside, this is a Burton that’s well worth going for.
Mark Gilbert

Discography
Autumn; Reunion; Origin; Will You Say You Will; House On The Hill; Panama; Chairs And Chil­dren; Wasn’t Always Easy; The Chief; Tempos Felice (Happy Times); Quick And Running (58.35)
Burton (vib/mar); Pat Metheny (g/elg/g syn); Mitchell Forman (p/kyb); Will Lee (elb); Peter Erskine (d/pc). NYC, May 6-10, 1989.
(GRP-9598-2)

Advertisement
Advertisement

Jazz Journal articles by month

Advertisement

Nat King Cole: Ultimate Nat King Cole

This collection from Nat King Cole’s vast catalogue is aptly named. For those wanting to remind themselves of how good a singer he was,...
Advertisement

Obituary: Stanley Crouch

Stanley Crouch, a controversial, aggressive and influential jazz critic, columnist for the Daily News and The Village Voice (from which he was fired after...
Advertisement

John Scofield: between the gutter and the stars

The tall figure of John Scofield and the posh Amsterdam hotel room are like fire and water. Dressed in jeans and a woodchopper shirt...
Advertisement

The Rhythm Changes Guide

This is a very useful new guide to playing rhythm changes in jazz by Lukas Gabric, a semi-finalist in the 2013 Thelonious Monk Competition...
Advertisement

Norah Jones: Live at Ronnie Scott’s

Jones’s Come Away With Me album was a great example of highly effective music marketing, using what might seem like the most unlikely of...
Advertisement

JJ 06/89: Chick Corea – Akoustic Band

A highly superior issue by one of jazz's richest contemporary talents. If you know Chick's work with Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes and like...