Gary Burton: Falling Grace

Track

Falling Grace

Artist

Gary Burton (vibes)

CD

Quartet Live (Concord Jazz CJA-31303-02)

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Musicians:

Gary Burton (vibes), Pat Metheny (guitar), Steve Swallow (bass), Antonio Sanchez (drums).

Composed by Steve Swallow

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Recorded: June 10-11 2007, live at Yoshi’s, Oakland CA

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Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

The recent reconvening of Burton’s groundbreaking Quartet for an extended tour and a resulting live album was a welcome return for jazz. It serves as a vital reminder of the unique textural sophistication and joyful sound crafted by a preeminent vibraphonist, along with sidemen who usually went on to make jazz history themselves.

One of the songs they performed, “Falling Grace,” is also a valuable memento of Swallow’s influential abilities as a composer and performer. Only the second song he’s ever written, “Grace” has both tremendous harmonic depth and finesse, a difficult feat for even seasoned songwriters. No matter who’s playing it, it seems very much like the song specifically written for Bill Evans that it is (and eventually covered by Evans on his 1974 disc, Intuition). Burton covered it several times himself and this was doubtless part of the repertoire of his old foursome. Revisiting this classic with Burton and Swallow are Burton’s former prodigy Metheny and Metheny’s main drummer since 2001, Sanchez.

Swallow’s expansive bass lines flow out so sparkly and seamlessly, he manages to solo and comp at the same time. Burton’s vibes solo is his typical “make every note meaningful” attack and hearing Metheny after him illuminates how much the guitarist has learned from his old teacher as a teenager.

Burton’s and his crack crew’s hard work on Swallow's gem makes it easy for listeners to enjoy.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron

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