Today’s the birthday of American Jazz musician and composer GARY BURTON. He was born in Anderson, Indiana and made his recording debut at the age of 17. The vibraphonist has worked with famous musicians as George Shearing, Stan Getz, Chick Corea and Astor Piazzola.
Early in his career, at the behest of noted Nashville saxophonist Boots Randolph, Burton moved to Nashville and recorded with several notable Nashville musicians including guitarist Hank Garland, pianist Ffloyd Cramer and guitarist Chet Atkins.
After touring both the U.S. and Japan with pianist George Shearing in 1963, Burton went on to play with saxophonist Stan Getz from 1964 to 1966. It was during this time with the Stan Getz Quartet that Burton appeared with the band in a feature film, “Get Yourself a College Girl”, playing “Girl From Ipanema” with Astrud Gilberto. In 1967 he formed the Gary Burton Quartet along with guitarist Larry Coryell, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Steve Swallow. Predating the jazz-rock craze of the 1970s, the group’s first record, Duster, combined jazz, country and rock and roll elements. However, some of Burton’s previous albums (notably Tennessee Firebird and Time Machine, both from 1966) had already shown his inclination toward such experimentation with different genres of popular music. After Coryell left the quartet in the late-1960s, Burton hired a number of well-regarded guitarists: Jerry Hahn, David Pritchard, Mick Goodrick, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Kurt Rosenwinkel and most recently Julian Lange, who played guitar in Burton’s group Next Generation.
Burton was named Down Beat magazine’s ‘Jazzman of the Year’ in 1968 (the youngest ever to receive the title) and won his first Grammy award in 1972. The following year Burton began a now 40-year-long collaboration with pianist Chick Corea, recognized for popularizing the format of jazz duet performance. Their eight recordings together won the pair Grammy awards in years 1979, 1981, 1997, 1999, and most recently in 2009, for The New Crystal Silence and in 2013, for Hot House. Burton has a total of 21 Grammy nominations and 7 Grammy wins.
Burton has played with a wide variety of jazz musicians, including Carla Bley, Hank Garland, Gato Barbieri, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Steve Lacy, Pat Metheny, Mackoto Ozone, Tiger Okoshi, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, Stephane Grappelli and tangl legend, Astor Piazzolla.
Following an early marriage in his 20’s, Burton married for a second time 1975-84 to Catherine Goldwyn, granddaughter of film producer Samuel Goldwyn (1879–1974). They have two children, Stephanie and Sam, and one grandchild.
By the 1980s, Burton was in a Gay relationship and he came out publicly in a 1994 radio interview with Terry Gross, making him one of rather few openly Gay jazz musicians of prominence. In 2013, he married his long time partner, Jonathan Chong.