Gary Burton

 

Common Ground Mack Avenue *****

Playing more or less unfashionably straight ahead, vibist Gary Burton’s new quartet, with Julian Lage (guitar), Scott Colley (bass) and Antonio Sanchez (drums), has a rare chemistry. On Keith Jarrett’s lovely ballad, In Your Quiet Place, for example, the ensemble almost sings the melody as a unit, and they make the odd-metred 7/4 of Never the Same Wayflow organically. This more-than-the-sum-of- its-parts unity provides a sense of completeness to superb performances on Late Night Sunrise,the reflective tango drama of Was It So Long Ago?, the poise and invention of Last Snow, and the sparkling storytelling of Common Groundand Etude, with its highly arpeggiated guitar/vibes unison. In a band that takes virtuosity for granted and where musical maturity is de rigueur,the quality of solo work by Burton, the 22-year-old Lage and Colley is a constant joy.

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