Gary Burton Quartet brings jazzy life to the Jorgensen
Published: Friday, September 27, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 27, 2013 01:09
On Thursday evening, jazz foursome The Gary Burton Quartet performed at Jorgensen, and went above and beyond in awakening the audience’s senses, audibly and musically.
The members, bassist Scott Colley, drummer Antonio Sanchez and guitarist Julian Lage fused their improvisational and traditional skills to represent the many facets of jazz.
To kick off the show, Gary Burton himself opened with a welcoming speech, introduced his group, and got straight to business. Without any delay, the group dove into its first tune, “Afro Blue,” a song which alone is credited to have birthed the Latin Jazz music genre.
“Never Was The Same” followed, and was xylophone-heavy and full of energy. Topped with bass and delicate electric guitar riffs. Thanks to guitarist Julian Lage, there was just enough jazz and soft rock to please different ears. Burton’s xylophone playing was on par, diversifying its tempo during each phase of the song.
Next was an improv bass session starring Scott Colley, who shone on his six-minute solo that warped Jorgensen into something like a finger snap-able, artsy poetry club. Booming and soulful, the solo provided a casual break from the otherwise organized set list.
After doing his thing, the other three musicians joined in and contributed their sounds. A drum solo by Antonio Sanchez was also intertwined. Feathery, rain-drop percussion made it all the more appealing, while also slowing things down. As a result of this break, the audience was given a 10-minute crash course in jazz experimentation.
Blending is what the Gary Burton Quartet does best, as evident in every song and transition. Drum and bass solos effortlessly filled spaces between songs, retaining an un-forced and diverse feel.
“Remembering El Tano” was the tango piece of the night, commemorating the life of a past collaborator of Burton’s, whose name is used in the titled.
The song was beautifully mellow and sensual, fusing waltz with marimba—ultimately forming the jazz definition of “tango.”
The group performed guitar player Julian Lage’s creation, “The Lookout,” a bubbly tune full of expressive xylophone, perfectly mish-mashed guitar riffs, and unique drumming. The melody teemed with ‘tude—an often forgotten, yet key characteristic of jazz music’s roots.
Following a brief intermission, Gary Burton and the band began “Sunday’s Uncle,” a fresh song from their recently released EP, “Guided Tour.”
The quartet performed just one encore, a traditional-to-jazz medley that closed the show on an eclectic and simple note. A foursome of adventurous musicians, the Gary Burton Quartet is an exemplary model for the jazz fan, constantly evolving and keeping the genre relevant—all while remaining true to its origins.