New strings in Burton's bow

New Gary Burton Quartet

The adjective in the New Gary Burton Quartet might have a familiar old ring. Vibist Burton had an album called The New Quartet on ECM in 1973 and has led numerous new versions of his four-piece in the past four decades. Furthermore, in featuring new guitarist Julian Lage, the new quartet follows a Burton tradition established over the past 40 years.

Lage, who appears with the group at Ronnie Scott's in London in early July, joins a roster of Burton guitarists that began with Larry Coryell and Jerry Hahn in the 1960s and went on to include Mick Goodrick, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Wolfgang Muthspiel and Kurt Rosenwinkel. 

Burton says of his predilection for guitarists: "I've always liked the vibraphone-guitar sound. It's something that I discovered when Nashville country guitarist Hank Garland invited me in the 60s to record with him."

Burton was an early proponent of the country-jazz fusion that has manifested itself strongly in recent years in the so-called Americana style of jazz-related guitarists such as Bill Frisell. Burton finds vibes and guitar together have "an ideal timbre and coolness".

He says of Julian Lage: "Julian has kept on growing and developing a sound of his own. He's a knock-out."

The New Gary Burton Quartet appears at Ronnie's on 4 and 5 July and is completed by Jorge Roeder (b) and Antonio Sanchez (d). Lage also appears on the quartet's new album Common Ground on Mack Avenue (MAC1061), but with bassist Scott Colley in place of Roeder. The quartet plays around Europe until 10 July then goes to Japan to 23 July and tours the US in the autumn.

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