Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gary Burton - For Hamp, Red, Bags, and Cal (2001) [Concord]

Gary Burton - For Hamp, Red, Bags, and Cal (2001) [Concord]
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Genre ~ Post-Bop | Label ~ Concord Jazz

The vibraphone legend calls this wide-ranging tribute collection his most satisfying effort to date (this is a major catalog), and the one that hits closest to home. No doubt that's because he's digging deep into his past and paying homage to the legends of the instrument who shaped his own inimitable style. The four mentioned by the album title all had unique roles in the development of the instrument as a jazz focal point, and it's amazing to realize the vibes were only invented 75 years ago -- just one generation before Burton was born. Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo pioneered mallet jazz; Milt "Bags" Jackson gave it the lyrical phrasing of a horn, achieving a great transformation, and Cal Tjader made it a staple of the cool school and '50s Latin jazz. As a result, Burton can pretty much go wild rhythmically, improvisationally, and stylistically -- the disc rolls like one big mallet party, surprising listeners with where it darts next. The first two tracks, a frenetic rendering of Tjader's "Afro Blue" and a lighthearted skip through "Bag's Groove," set the pace as far as the project's diversity. The Hampton pieces are the moody "Midnight Sun" and feisty, jamming "Flying Home"; Norvo's tunes are the whimsical ragtime influence "Hole in the Wall" and the ambient and experimental "Dance of the Octopus"; Tjader's are the Brazilian fiesta "Joao" and lyrical "Body and Soul"; and "Django" captures the gentle side of Bags. This is a well-rounded jazz disc for even the most casual listener, but it's paradise for a hardcore vibes fan -- a fun, hour-long history lesson on the instrument by a professor who has so beautifully carried on its legacy. ~Allmusic

01. Afro Blue (6:49)
02. Bags' Groove (5:26)
03. Move (5:21)
04. Midnight Sun (8:08)
05. Flying Home (5:18)
06. Django (6:27)
07. Back Home Again in Indiana (5:44)
08. Body and Soul (6:14)
09. Godchild (6:00)
10. Joao (5:25)
11. Hole in the Wall (2:52)
12. Dance of the Octopus (3:50)

Gary Burton - vibraphone, xylophone, marimba
Russell Malone - guitar
Mulgrew Miller, Makoto Ozone, Danilo Perez - piano
Christian McBride, John Patitucci - bass
Horacio Hernandez, Lewis Nash - drums
Luis Quintero - percussion

Produced by Gary Burton
Executive Producers: Glen Barros & John Burk
Recorded at Avatar Studio "C", New York City; May 11, 23 and 24, 2000;
and Berklee Recording Studio, Boston, MA; June 3, 2000
Recording and Mixing Engineer: James Farber
Recording Engineer at Berklee: Bill Scheniman
All selections arranged by Makoto Ozone
Mastered by Greg Kalbi at Sterling Sound, NYC
Director of Product Development: Alexis Davis
Production Manager: ANdrea R. Nelson
Art Direction: Trinidad Volcan
Photography: Gildas Bocle
Liner notes by Neil Tesser