Friday, June 3, 2011


Vibraphonist Gary Burton has a fresh start. Mack Avenue Records signed Burton back in February, which was a major score for the company. Burton has a new band. And Burton has a new album, Common Ground, due out Tuesday. Common Ground is Burton’s first album in 5 years, and Mack Avenue's best album so far this year.

During Burton’s 5 year break, Burton kept his chops up. Burton still has a keen eye for gifted jazz guitarists.  In the past, Burton worked with Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Kurt Rosenwinkel, three of jazz’s more creative minds. Burton help shape their reputations.

On Common Ground, Burton works with drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Scott Colley and Guitarist Julian Lage. Sanchez and Colley efficiently handle all the manual labor.

On “Never the Same Way, Colley spreads notes around like fertilizer. Sanchez swings toe-to-toe with Burton on the title cut. Lage is the dominate voice throughout Common Ground. It seems Burton designed Common Ground as a platform for Lage.  

Lage is a maverick with good gut instincts. In April, Lage put out a concept album Galdewell. The album shows his knack for writing intriguing compositions.

On Late Night,  Lage uses those instincts to navigate the changes. Burton and Lage have a sentimental father and son moment on My Funny Valentine.  Burton has new musical soul mate in Lage. .
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