The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for the ‘Gary Burton’ Category

Good Vibes: Gary Burton’s First Albums Collected On “Conception”

with 4 comments

Gary Burton - ConceptionSince his introduction in 1961 on RCA Victor as The New Vibe Man in Town, vibraphonist Gary Burton has carved out one of the most prolific careers in jazz. Today, seven-time Grammy recipient Burton is recognized as one of the pioneers of jazz fusion as well as an innovative stylist (with his four-mallet technique rather than the more typical two-mallet) and an influential educator. Following his 1961 debut, Burton made some fascinating, embryonic records – like The Groovy Sound of Music, a set dedicated to the Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes from the Broadway musical – and Tennessee Firebird, with a couple of Bob Dylan covers. But he hit his (first) stride in 1967, launching a new quartet to explore fresh avenues in jazz. He was joined by bassist Steve Swallow, drummer Roy Haynes (shortly replaced by Bobby Moses) and perhaps his most key collaborator, guitarist Larry Coryell. Coryell’s rock guitar proved the perfect foil for Burton’s vibes on early fusion albums like 1967’s Duster (with Haynes), Lofty Fake Anagram (with Moses) and 1968’s In Concert, which received its first-ever CD release outside of Japan in 2012 from Cherry Red’s FiveFour imprint. Now, another Cherry Red label, él, has a 2-CD slipcased set dedicated to the early works of Burton containing four full albums and other selections.

Gary Burton: Conception brings together Burton’s first two albums as a leader, The New Vibe Man in Town and 1962’s Who is Gary Burton? in a package with two full albums on which he served as a sideman: Hank Garland and the All-Stars’ Jazz Winds from a New Direction and The Nashville All-Stars’ After the Riot at Newport (both 1960). Conception also includes five songs from Garland’s Subtle Swing and one single track, pianist Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date” featuring Burton in the band.

It may be surprising to some that a jazz eminence like Burton came up through the ranks of Chet Atkins’ Nashville Sound. Jazz Winds from a New Direction was recorded in August 1960, teaming guitar great Garland (who recorded with Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison and so many others) with Joe Benjamin on bass, The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Joe Morello on drums and young Gary Burton on vibes. Garland knew Burton from one month earlier, when the remaining performances at the Newport Folk Festival on the Fourth of July, 1960, were cancelled as a result of unruly audience behavior. The story has it that RCA rounded up the available musicians and ushered them into a rented mansion to jam on the album that became After the Riot at Newport, credited to The Nashville All-Stars. Burton was in good company: with Boots Randolph (alto saxophone), Floyd Cramer (piano), Garland and Chet Atkins (guitars), Brenton Banks (violin), Bob Moore (bass) and Buddy Harman (drums). Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein penned the liner notes for the album, writing, in part: “To me, the highlights of the album are the wonderful violin of Brenton Banks, the swinging guitar of Hank Garland, and the brilliant work of a 17-year old vibraphonist from Princeton, Indiana, Gary Burton, whom you will be sure to hear a lot in the future.”

Needless to say, Wein’s prediction about Burton was right. Just six days after the August 23, 1960 recording of Jazz Winds, Garland called Burton back to join Bob Moore (bass), Bill Pursell (piano) and Doug Kirkham (drums) to record the album that became Subtle Swing – a portion of which is included on Conceptions. (It originally was intended as a demonstration record for SESAC, the music publishers’ service organization.) It wasn’t long before Chet Atkins, the legendary Nashville guitarist, producer and RCA’s Nashville overseer, signed Burton to his first recording contract.

We have more after the jump, including the complete track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 3, 2014 at 10:19

Posted in Gary Burton, News, Reissues