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Common Ground

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 7, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

On Gary Burton's debut release on Mack Avenue Records Common Ground, the Grammy-winning pioneer of the four-mallet technique of playing the vibes is not only delivering his first studio album since 2005, but is also introducing his latest band. Well-known throughout his five-decade career for his quartets (beginning with his 1967 group featuring Larry Coryell, Roy Haynes and Steve Swallow), Burton is returning to the configuration for the first time since the mid 90s. He expresses great enthusiasm for the new band's alchemy. I've always liked the vibraphone-guitar sound, says Burton, whose masterful vibes glisten throughout Common Ground. It's something that I discovered when Nashville country guitarist Hank Garland invited me in the 60s to record with him. The sound of the two instruments together has an ideal timbre and coolness.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 7, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: June 7, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mack Avenue
  • ASIN: B004WOXLBU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,532 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Gruskoff on July 19, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A very musical and very high fidelity hour to be spent with this content. A reviewer posting "marred slightly by poor sound" is way off base and needs their gear checked. My CD sounds vibrant and real. The Bass is very well recorded, as Bass player I am looking for that. In all a fine way to show off a good playback system.
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A great recording of outstanding new material from Gary Burton. His new quartet includes one of the current great straight-ahead jazz drummers Antonion Sanchez who plays beautifully on this album. While I don't recall the name of the guitarist, I had never heard him before and he is truly outstanding. I had the pleasure of seeing the quartet recently in Oakland CA and he was even better live. Gary Burton has a habit of discovering new great guitar talent and he's come through again. (I believe Burton was also the one to discover Pat Methany years ago). Buy the album, you won't be disappointed.
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I've been a fan of Gary Burton's playing for decades. From his earliest RCA and ECM recordings, Burton has put together great quartets, but I've always loved the "guitar quartets" best of all. The sound (that is to say, the "recorded sound") of "Common Ground" is amazing! The clarity and the depth of tone from each instrument is outstanding (extraordinarly "present," if you will), and certainly owes much to being recorded at NYU's new Steinhardt School of Culture studios. The opening track, Vadim Neselovskyi's "Late Night Sunrise," literally sets the "tone" for the entire outing, with outstanding solos and tight ensemble playing. Each member of the quartet contributed pieces to the recording, and for me, a real gem comes from Burton himself: "Was It So Long Ago?", a tango-ish piece that just wraps itself around you. Lage, Colley, and Sanchez are outstanding throughout, and without a doubt, even now, in the later years of Burton's playing, this music swings and inspires.
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Hate to admit I haven't brought a Gary Burton album is a long time and after hearing this album kicking myself for waiting. It is the classic Burton sound I first discovered back in the 60's when I discovered Larry Coryell. The vibes are such a beautiful sounding instrument and blends so well with guitar. This current line up is a new classic with guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Julian is one of the best new guitarist on the scene today with a fantastic harmonic sense. Then Sanchez is such a musical drummer. Burton's solos are as fresh as ever and each one is a lesson in improvisation, of course it helps being Burton is the head of improv at Berklee College of Music. So want a great Jazz album you and casually listen to or study great improv and ensemble work this is one to get.
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I found this album to be engineered quite well with all of the instruments coming through with balance. The compositions and playing are superb and what an amazing combination of instruments and players. A five star album through and through.
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This CD is beautifully recorded. Julian Lage, a child prodigy and subject of an Academy Award nominated documentary call "Jules at Eight," compliments the eight time Grammy Winner Gary Burton and wrote many of the tunes. This CD should win a Grammy this year for best jazz album. Drummer, Antonio Sanchez, and bassist, Scott Colley, are also wonderful on this project.
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It's been since Gary's duet albums (with Ralph Towner for example) that he's led such an open , supple , subtly complex session as this to my ears . Several "road" listens today , convinced me that this IS a remarkable date . With Antonio Sanchez on drums and contributing two songs , Scott Colley (acoustic double bass and a song) and the extraordinary Julian Lage (slightly amplified electric guitar and two songs) , things are off and running . Colley is a third and substantial solo voice on the recording . These songs are VERY good and given VERY thoughtful consideration in every way . The playing is super deep and passionate (by all) and as rewarding as any authentic jazz fan could hope for . I'm fairly certain this disc will turn up on a LOT of jazz top lists of it's year . If you think you've heard your fill of Gary ? Think again . Brilliant . Classic . Masterfully recorded as well . Even folks fairly new to jazz music should be able to discern the effortless virtuosity of all involved . Essential .
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Other reviewers will know alot more about music and the artists involved. I just know that I really enjoy this masterful album. The crew that Gary Burton has assembled for this album is superb. Great craftsmanship is, I think the phrase I am looking for. This is a beautiful album that reminds me of "Like Minds", an earlier album with Gary Burton. Check other reviews for more information about the artists and musical style, genre.
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