Gary Burton

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Generations Review

by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

Vibraphonist Gary Burton's place in the jazz firmament has long been assured, but he has no intention of sitting on the sidelines as others enter the field. Instead, Burton has a knack for reaching out to younger players, thus leading to the title of his 2004 release, Generations. More specifically, the title refers to guitarist Julian Lage, a new talent on the jazz scene whose low profile can be attributed to the fact that he's a sophomore in high school. Lage's cool sound, inspired by Jim Hall, perfectly complements the lightness of Burton's vibes, giving Generations a relaxed, mellow sound. Burton and Lage are joined by pianist Makoto Ozone, bassist James Genus, and drummer Clarence Penn on well-worn classics like Oscar Peterson's "Wheatland" and more recent classics like Pat Metheny's "Take Another Look." Ozone proves something of a linchpin between the lead players and the rhythm section, offering light, lovely solos on pieces like "The Title Will Follow" and a flurry of rhythmic chords on "Ladies in Mercedes." Burton's predilection toward new ideas can also be discerned by his inclusion of a great deal of new material written by Lage (three pieces) and Ozone (two pieces). Generations is another fine effort by Burton, an excellent introduction to Lage, and above all, a solid recording by a fine group playing in synchronicity.

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