Amazon.com Widgets

Gary Burton: For Hamp, Red, Bags, and Cal

By Published: | 4,823 views
No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Gary Burton’s new release is a tribute record with a four-pronged twist, and with four different lineups. The vibraphonist’s honorees are Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo, Milt Jackson, and Cal Tjader — a grouping that provides a convenient historical survey of the vibraphone in jazz. While the result may not be a creative watershed, it definitely swings.

Three of the five Red Norvo dedications are a deliberate re-creation of Norvo’s classic 1950s trio. Russell Malone and Christian McBride play the roles of Tal Farlow and Charles Mingus, respectively. Some may find this kind of literalism off-putting, but the high-voltage scrappiness of these tracks — "Move," "Back Home Again in Indiana," and "Godchild" — is impossible to resist. Malone’s prowess in small, drum-less groups like these (think Diana Krall, Benny Green) is unfailing. (Check out his conga simulation on "Move.") The two Norvo originals at album’s end, "Hole in the Wall" and "Dance of the Octopus," feature Burton with his frequent duo partner, pianist Makoto Ozone. Here too, there’s a literalism that manages to be quite appealing. Burton plays xylophone and marimba — the instruments Norvo actually played on these tunes — and Ozone plays transcribed piano parts from the original recordings. While this might seem a recipe for a potted reenactment of another artist’s past glories, Burton and Ozone’s treatments have a searching, unpredictable, beguiling quality.

In comparison, the "Bags" and "Hamp" pieces, featuring McBride, Mulgrew Miller, and Lewis Nash, don’t have quite the same spark. Nor do the Tjader tributes, featuring Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, drummer Horacio Hernandez, and percussionist Luis Quintero. The arrangements, all by pianist Makoto Ozone, are tight and inventive, the playing top-shelf, naturally. But it’s on the Norvo material that Burton and his chosen players have the most interesting things to say.

Track Listing: 1. Afro Blue 2. Bag

Personnel: Gary Burton, vibraphone, xylophone (11), marimba (12); Mulgrew Miller, piano (2, 4, 5, 6); Makoto Ozone, piano (11, 12); Danilo Perez, piano (1, 8, 10); Russell Malone, guitar (3, 7, 9); Christian McBride, bass (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9); John Patitucci, bass (1, 8, 10); Horacio Hernandez, drums (1, 8, 10); Lewis Nash, drums (2, 4, 5, 6); Luis Quintero, percussion (1, 8, 10)

Record Label: Concord Music Group

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

A musician was found with a matching name

Name:

Birthday:

Instrument:

Is this you?