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       Tone Audio Magazine - Issue #22

 By Anne Farnsworth

      Gary Burton/Pat Metheny/Steve Swallow/Antonio Sanchez

                                   Quartet Live (Concord)

One of the great things about jazz is its mentor tradition, both in the classroom and in performance. Jazz is an aurally transmitted art form, what’s on the stage ain’t what’s on the page, and gifted youngsters often get the chance to grow and become peers with their idols.

Pat Metheny takes pains to correct the canard that he was plucked by Burton from Berklee’s student body to play in his quartet, but also says it was his favorite band as a teenager. He joined Burton’s group in the ‘70’s and they’ve been playing frequently together ever since.

This latest release, recorded live at Yoshi’s, reunites the two (who also co-produce) with veteran bassist/composer Steve Swallow and drummer Antonio Sanchez, a relative newcomer.

There’s nothing groundbreaking here but fans will be pleased to revisit the Burton repertoire, famous in the late ‘60’s for its innovative jazz/rock sensibilities, played today with maturity, enthusiasm and great skill.

The ‘60’s are also referenced in the trippy Peter Max cover. If you don’t know Max’s style, think Yellow Submarine cartoons or Grateful Dead album covers. There’s a trend this year in hippie culture CD art design — The Corea/McLaughlin and Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood releases are two more examples.

The Bay Area’s Yoshi’s has quickly become the premier spot for live jazz recordings. It’s interesting that Boston residents Burton and Metheny eschew Cambridge’s Scullers, a venue on the level of Yoshi’s, to record on the west coast. 

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