New Gary Burton Quartet All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Oct. 4, 7 & 9:30 p.m. 2013

Vibraphonist and bandleader Gary Burton, who turned 70 in January, ended a long stint in academia nearly a decade ago, retiring as executive vice president of the Berklee College of Music in 2004, and this August he published an autobiography called Learning to Listen. But this pioneer of four-mallet vibes playing isn’t riding off into the sunset. He just released Guided Tour (Mack Avenue), the second album by the New Gary Burton Quartet—the first time in more than three decades that he’s put out two consecutive recordings with the same lineup. The band consists of bassist Scott Colley, drummer Antonio Sanchez, and young guitar virtuoso Julian Lage, who’s the latest in a long line of Burton discoveries that also includes Pat Metheny, Larry Coryell, and Donny McCaslin. They’re deft, concise, and seriously locked in on the new record’s ten tunes (eight of which are new originals, contributed by all four members). They deliver a brisk, tempo-shifting version of Fred Hersch’s “Jackalope” and take a gorgeous stroll through the Michel Legrand ballad “Once Upon a Summertime,” with emotionally charged but restrained solos from Lage and Burton. Lage’s “The Lookout” is an ingenious rewrite of “Careful,” a tune by fellow guitarist Jim Hall that Burton recorded decades ago, and Burton’s “Remembering Tano” is a vibrant tango in memory of the great Astor Piazzolla, with whom he collaborated in the mid-80s. What’s most impressive is the way the band plays together: crisp, energetic, and empathetic, never putting virtuosic displays ahead of ensemble cohesion. Burton and Lage in particular have an uncanny rapport—the rich timbre they create together sometimes sounds almost like a single instrument. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20-$50

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