Gary Burton Performs at Berklee as Part of His Farewell Tour on March 5
After more than 50 years as a touring musician and nearly 70 recordings to his name, legendary jazz vibraphonist and educator Gary Burton ‘62 ’89H will retire this year. As part of his farewell tour of the U.S. and Japan, he'll make a stop at Berklee on March 5 for a duets concert with Makoto Ozone B.M. ‘83, his longtime friend and collaborator of more than 30 years.
Burton, a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master and the recipient of seven Grammy Awards, is known as an innovator for his pioneering vibraphone technique and his groundbreaking ensembles.
Burton and Ozone have recorded several albums together, including Face to Face, Time Thread, and Virtuosi—the latter title exemplifying a typical concert by the duo. They improvise on just about any kind of music, from traditional and contemporary jazz to tango and classical themes. Both musicians are stunning performers, always pushing each other to new and greater heights.
Gary Burton and Makoto Ozone: Duets takes place at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, on Sunday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $25 in advance and $35 the day of the show with discounts available. Tickets can be purchased online at berklee.edu/BPC.
Ozone is a star of the jazz scene in Japan and a prolific composer and arranger, having composed music for dozens of CDs. In the past decade, the Berklee alumnus has become a frequent guest soloist with orchestras in Japan and Europe, and is a regular guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony.
After attending Berklee, Burton moved to New York in 1962 and toured for a year with pianist George Shearing, followed by a three-year stint with the Stan Getz Quartet. It was during his years with Shearing and Getz that Burton pioneered his four-mallet technique on the vibraphone, widely known today as the “Burton grip.” In 1967, Burton launched his first band, the Gary Burton Quartet, introducing a new genre of jazz. At first called “jazz rock,” it soon became known “fusion jazz.”
In 1972, Burton teamed up with pianist Chick Corea to record Crystal Silence, a collection of duets for vibraphone and piano, the success of which led to numerous duet collaborations with other jazz artists. Burton has continued touring and recording with Corea for the past 44 years, and their duet recordings have won five Grammy Awards.
At about the same time that the Burton/Corea duet project began, Burton became seriously committed to jazz education, beginning a 33-year career at his alma mater, Berklee. He served as a professor and dean of curriculum before being appointed executive vice president in 1995, a position he held until his retirement in 2004.
As a bandleader, Burton is well known for discovering talented young musicians including artists such as Larry Coryell, Pat Metheny, John Scofield ‘73, Ozone ‘83, Donny McCaslin B.M. ‘88, Kurt Rosenwinkel B.M. ‘90, and Julian Lage B.M. ‘08. Burton’s autobiography, Learning to Listen, was voted Best Jazz Book of 2013 by the Jazz Journalists Association.