Burton, Gary

Burton, Gary, 1943- , American jazz vibraphone player, composer, and bandleader, b. Anderson, In. Burton is self-taught on the vibraphone and studied piano during his teenage years. He attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music from 1960-61 (and would return to teach there from 1971-2004, eventually becoming its executive vice president). Burton made his first recordings with pop-saxophonist Boots Randolph in Nashville, and then recorded and toured with George Shearing and saxophone player Stan Getz from 1964-67. He formed his first quartet in 1967, recording a series of albums that fused country, rock, and jazz influences, including the influential 1969 album Throb. Notable members of his quartet included bassist/composer Steve Swallow and a young Pat Metheny, who began his career as a jazz guitarist with Burton. In 1973, Burton partnered with Chick Corea for what would become eight solo recordings, six of which won Grammy awards. In 1994, Burton came out as a gay man, one of the few openly gay jazz musicians. He retired in 2017.

See his autobiography (2013).

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