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 11-song album was recorded live at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland and will be available on May 26, 2009.
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.