Quartet Live (Concord Jazz)

Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow & Antonio Sánchez

Released May 2009

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Instrumental Album 2010

JazzTimes Top 10 Albums of 2009






Concord Jazz is proud to announce the release of QUARTET LIVE!, a revisited edition of the classic Gary Burton Quartet. The album features three original members and jazz legends Burton, Pat Metheny and Steve Swallow along with one new member, and perhaps one of the most prominent drummers of his generation, Antonio Sanchez.

The story begins in 1967 when bassist Steve Swallow joined with vibraphonist Gary Burton to form the original Gary Burton Quartet. In the early 1970s, then 19-year old guitarist Pat Metheny joined Burton’s band and one of the most celebrated careers in music began. This would be the start of a 35-year musical friendship between the vibist and guitarist that continues today. A decade ago Metheny discovered drummer Antonio Sanchez, inviting him to join The Pat Metheny Group, and the two have been playing together ever since.

Metheny came up with the idea to revisit the Gary Burton Quartet, the band that had been his entry into the jazz world: “For me, as a teenager in Missouri just starting to appreciate jazz, Gary’s group was the most innovative band around.” They decided to schedule a gig at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2005. The musicians’ rapport and the freshness of playing at Montreal was so energizing that the musicians took the act on the road in Japan and the US in 2006 and 2007, and the group reunited again for a European tour in 2008. QUARTET LIVE! was recorded while on tour at Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland, CA. Burton says, “Without a doubt, the level of the group was at an all-time high that weekend. At Yoshi’s, everything just clicked.”

The special challenge for a jazz reunion is to achieve something more than simply playing the old material, and QUARTET LIVE! fully realizes this, taking the music into new territory. “We have all continued to evolve as players, so we play the songs in fresh ways now. We’ve all become better improvisers, too. But, more importantly, though we have each gone on to new ventures, when we got back together again the rapport that always came so easily is still front and center. This has been the most fun I’ve had in a very long time,” stated Burton. What we have here is four legendary musicians, improvisers and composers all, each at the top of his game, bringing modern jazz history to life on QUARTET LIVE!. The new Gary Burton Quartet will add more performances in the US and Canada in 2009.

Track Listing:

1. Sea Journey (Chick Corea / Neville Potter) 8:59

2. Olhos De Gato (Carla Bley) 6:36

3. Falling Grace (Steve Swallow) 7:18

4. Coral (Keith Jarrett) 6:23

5. Walter L (Gary Burton) 5:29

6. B and G (Midwestern Night’s Dream) (Pat Metheny) 6:53

7. Missouri Uncompromised (Pat Metheny) 7:33

8. Fleurette Africaine (Little African Flower) (Duke Ellington) 7:34

9. Hullo, Bolinas (Steve Swallow) 4:47

10. Syndrome (Carla Bley) 4:42

11. Question and Answer (Pat Metheny) 13:02


Gary Burton: vibes

Pat Metheny: guitar

Steve Swallow: electric bass

Antonio Sanchez: drums

Recorded live June 10 – 11, 2007 at Yoshi’s, Oakland, CA

Produced by Gary Burton and Pat Metheny

Recording Engineer: David Oakes

Mixed by Pete Karam

Mastered by Mark Wilder

Cover Art: Peter Max


Few musicians manage to sound as elegant and exotic, or as thoughtful and buoyant, as Gary Burton, the pioneering vibraphonist who helped create fusion in the 1960s and nurtured such future guitar greats as Larry Coryell, Jerry Hahn and Kurt Rosenwinkel. But no guitarist blossomed under Burton’s mentorship like Pat Metheny, whose four-year tenure in the vibraphonist’s band in the early 1970s played a key role in developing Metheny’s musical aesthetic and laid the foundation for his subsequent ascension to stardom.
Burton and Metheny re-teamed in 2005 for a gig at the Montreal Jazz Festival, where they were joined by electric bass great Steve Swallow, a charter member of Burton’s quartet in 1967, and current Metheny drummer Antonio Sanchez. The results were so inspired that the quartet went on to tour each of the past three years and record this 11-song live album at Yoshi’s in Oakland. The unusually empathetic playing and listening by each player on Quartet Live yields impeccably nuanced musicianship, as the group mixes fetching originals by Burton, Metheny and Swallow with classics by Duke Ellington (“Little African Flower”), Carla Bley (“Olhos de Gato”) and Burton’s longtime musical partner, Chick Corea (the album-opening “Sea Journey”).
Sanchez’s drumming doesn’t sacrifice sensitivity for intensity, while the ever-nimble Swallow contributes marvelous solos to “Sea Journey” and to his exquisite ballad, “Falling Grace.” Burton and Metheny’s lattice-like lines on the guitarist’s “Missouri Uncompromised” and Bley’s “Syndrome” are a delight, and their playing-as might be expected-sparkles and shimmers throughout. That makes the unexpected moments stand out, especially Metheny’s edgy guitar-synth workout on “Question and Answer” and his raw-edged solo on Burton’s hard-driving tribute to Hank Garland, “Walter L,” which at times recalls the blues-rocking Eric Clapton.

George Varga (JazzTimes)