667

Gary Burton / Pat Metheny / Steve Swallow / Antonio Sanchez: Quartet Live

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Gary Burton / Pat Metheny / Steve Swallow / Antonio Sanchez: Quartet Live It's rare that a group can reunite to create what it had decades ago while remaining completely fresh and relevant. When guitarist Pat Metheny regrouped the Gary Burton Quartet—his training ground, beginning in his late-teens, from 1974- 1977—as one of his By Invitation performances at the 2005 Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, it was clear that this was something that couldn't be a one-shot deal. The quartet—featuring original members Steve Swallow (electric bass) and Burton (vibes) alongside drummer Antonio Sanchez (a newcomer to the group, but an ever-present partner with Metheny since the guitarist's Speaking of Now (Warner Bros., 2002))—was simply having too much fun. Regrouping a couple years later for a lengthy tour, the resulting Quartet Live not only documents the tour, it's the live album Burton never put out—but should have—back in the day.



More than a look back at the three ECM albums that Metheny recorded with Burton— Ring (1974), Dreams So Real (1976) and Passengers (1977)—Quartet Live recaptures the decade from 1967-77 where Burton's groups always included a guitarist, from Larry Coryell, Samuel T Brown and Jerry Hahn to Mick Goodrick and, finally, Metheny.



While Metheny has grown tremendously since those early days, becoming a modern icon in his own right, Quartet Live proves the timeless nature of Burton's always astute musical choices, ranging from Keith Jarrett's delicate ballad, "Coral" and the dark-hued grace of Metheny's "B and G (Midwestern Night's Dream)" and Carla Bley's "Olhos de Gato," to the fiery energy of the guitarist's "Missouri Uncompromised," Bley's equally burning "Syndrome" and Swallow's lithely swinging classic, "Falling Grace." There's even a rare Burton tune included, the quirky blues "Walter L," and a nod to Duke Ellington with the Latinesque "Fleurette Africaine (Little African Flower)" and longtime duet partner Chick Corea, with the lengthy opening workout of "Sea Journey."



The nearly 80-minute set also demonstrates how close to perfection Burton's groups from that era were. Sanchez may not have been around at the time (he was not yet three when Ring was recorded), but he fits like a glove, weighing heavily on the cymbals just as Bob Moses and Danny Gottlieb did, but still injecting his own distinctive strength into the mix. Swallow's electric bass tone is richer and fuller than it was back in the day, combining with Sanchez to provide a weightier bottom end without diminishing the wonderfully ethereal, mellifluous and lyrical combination of guitar and vibes.



If there's one misstep with Quartet Live it's a small one. The inclusion of Metheny's enduring "Question and Answer"—as ever a feature for the guitarist's horn-like guitar synth at its climax—seems slightly out of place with the more rarified ambience of the rest of the disc. Still, there's nothing wrong with a little modernistic heat to finish off the set, and while it's perhaps not the perfect choice, it does absolutely nothing to mar the exhilaration of hearing Burton, Metheny and Swallow reunite for a set of music that hasn't aged a day in 30+ years.

Visit Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow and Antonio Sanchez on the web.


Track Listing: Sea Journey; Olhos de Gato; Falling Grace; Coral; Walter L.; B and G (Midwestern Night's Dream); Missouri Uncompromised; Fleurette Africaine (Little African Flower); Hullo, Bolinas; Syndrome; Question and Answer.

Personnel: Gary Burton: vibes; Pat Metheny: guitar; Steve Swallow: electric bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Seven Storey Mountain V" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Storey Mountain V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Olhos De Mar" CD/LP/Track Review Olhos De Mar
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 24, 2016
Read "Alba" CD/LP/Track Review Alba
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "To The Universe" CD/LP/Track Review To The Universe
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "Breathe" CD/LP/Track Review Breathe
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 25, 2016
Read "Leaps In Leicester" CD/LP/Track Review Leaps In Leicester
by John Sharpe
Published: September 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!