Vibraphonist, composer, educator, and show host Gary Burton is still a pioneer in jazz celebrating his 50th year in the business. Burton’s left a mark on popular music playing with the likes of BB King, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, and The Byrds. Still, never leaving the traditional forms of jazz, yet reaching the generations with his love for all styles of music and incorporating a voice during the mid-to-late 1960’s.

The 67-year-old musician is about to record and go on the road with the Gary Burton New Quartet featuring Scott Colley on bass, Julian Lage on guitar, and Antonio Sanchez on drums. This is the first time Gary’s played with the new unit and the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City’s performances were all sold-out.

While growing up in rural Indiana, Burton experimented and practiced the 4 Mallet Technique that has become his signature sound. While in high school he befriended the legendary Boots Randolph and asked him to record on one of his records while he was recording with RCA Records. Upon graduating from high school, both Boots and Gary recorded on some of the most prolific records in Nashville under the legendary Chet Akins. Atkins, one of the architects of the “classic Nashville sound,” also took a liking to the young Burton and offered him a record contract before starting Berklee School of Music in Boston.

In the first part of my one-on-one interview with Gary live at the Blue Note in New York, we talk about his early days as a musician and him growing up in Indiana.

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