Gary Burton

Six Pack

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Gary Burton's peculiar connection and affinity for great guitarists is a proven historical fact, as he has been responsible for bringing such fantastic musicians to the world stage as Larry Coryell and Pat Metheny. On Six Pack, he joins with six different six-stringers for some decidedly varied modern jazz. Kurt Rosenwinkel makes like Metheny on the first track, the up-tempo Mitch Forman composition "Anthem." Any predictability to the song disappears in the presence of the rhythm section of Jack DeJohnette, Steve Swallow, and Mulgrew Miller. One doesn't generally think of the vibes as a blues instrument, and to be fair, it's really not, but Burton gives it the old college try on the title track, where his vibes intersect surprisingly well with Bob Berg's tenor sax and B.B. King's guitar. There is absolutely nothing weighty about this song at all, but it is fun and swinging nevertheless (who says jazz has to be serious all the time?). John Scofield also shows up on the track, and his distinctive tone and phrasing work perfectly in this setting. Other selections include such notables as Jim Hall, Ralph Towner, and Kevin Eubanks, and all of their contributions are solid in their own way. One sometimes wishes that this record was a little less GRP, with Larry Goldings' keyboards and Berg's sax being the most frequent offenders, but there are plenty of hot moments on Six Pack that make this record worth searching out, especially for fans of jazz guitar. Where else will listeners find all of these great players on a single record?

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