Gary Burton and Friends – Departure


Geez, I’m not really sure what to say about this CD. It’s a wonderful batch of music played by the likes of Peter Erskine on drums, Fred Hersch on piano, John Patitucci on bass, Burton on vibes, and John Scofield on guitar. It’s done so well and with such feeling that trying to convey that on paper won’t work.

The music is a mix of standards, ’50s jazz classics, and even the theme from TV’s “Frazier” done as a nice, swinging blues. Everyone plays great, but for our purposes, let’s talk about Scofield. His soloing is pretty much in the traditional style. You can tell it’s him from the signature sound, but I think it’s his best straight-ahead jazz playing. He plays with the same fire featured on his own records, while fitting into the likes of “September Song” and “For All We Know.”
For those of you familiar with past jazz history, the mix of guitar, piano, and vibes will make you feel right at home. The players are all so good, and complement each other beautifully. This is by no means a groundbreaking album of any sort, but it’s done well. Highly recommended.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’97 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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