Never mind that his birth certificate says he’s 71. Never mind how many generations of musicians he has mentored as an educator, bandleader and role model. Vibraphonist Gary Burton is no less a creative force than he has ever been, and no less dazzling an improviser. As revealed on the two scintillating albums by the New Gary Burton Quartet, featuring young guitar virtuoso Julian Lage, he has rarely played with such force and spirit or led a band with such sharpness and vigor.
During his storied career, Burton has revolutionized the way the vibraphone is played with his dynamic four-mallet attack. He helped found the music we called jazz-rock fusion, revitalized the jazz chamber group with his hard-edged lyricism and lifted the jazz duo to new heights with Chick Corea. As recounted in his acclaimed 2013 autobiography, Learning to Listen: The Jazz Journey of Gary Burton, he also has thrived in the company of such masters as Stan Getz, Roy Haynes, Keith Jarrett and Stephane Grappelli.
Tonight, Burton will lead yet another exciting group, including Lage (whose own duo recording with Fred Hersch has drawn considerable praise). Guitar and piano don’t always go together well in a combo, but you can count on Lage being in sync with Ukrainian-born pianist Vadim Neselovskyi, another of Burton’s many protégés
from the Berklee College of Music (and a member of the vibist’s Next Generation Quintet). They’ll be joined by Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder, a product of the New England Conservatory of Music who has performed with Steve Lacy and Kenny Werner, and Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole, who made his mark with David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon and leads the Afro-Beat Collective.