display | more...
Gary Burton (b. 23 January 1943) is my favorite vibraphonist. He and Bobby Hutcherson are the only two vibraphonists to emerge from the 1960's with widespread recognition in the jazz scene. Burton took the history of the vibraphone in jazz which was spun by Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson, and developed a voice of his own.

Part of Burton's brilliance was his development of a four-mallet technique -- two mallets in each hand, one between the thumb and forefinger, the other between two middle fingers. In this manner one could play intervals with one hand or a chord with two, allowing the vibes to comp the ensemble much as a piano or guitar can.

Gary Burton was born and raised in Indiana. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachucetts where he would later find himself permanently as a faculty member. Many, many musicians emerging from Berklee today have perfected their craft under Burton's tutelage.

Burton's most notable musical collaborations (in my mind, anyway) have been with pianists Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, guitarists Pat Metheny and Ralph Towner, and bassist Steve Swallow. Of course Burton has many albums as a leader of the Gary Burton Quartet.