GARY BURTON — A Genuine Tong Funeral (review)

GARY BURTON — A Genuine Tong Funeral album cover Album · 1968 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
snobb
Gary Burton is widely known as a leading jazz vibraphonist who produces quality melodic and accessible contemporary jazz albums, as well as several duets with Chick Corea. I believe not everyone knows his other face - an experimental jazz musician.

"A Genuine Tong Funeral" is possibly the best illustration of how different Burton's music was forty-something years ago. OK, it was a different time and different world, and grass was greener...

This album is based on Carla Bley's suite "Dark Opera Without Words" (Carla plays piano and organ on Burton's recording as well). Burton's music on here is dark and complex, but also melodic and quite an accessible listening at the same time. "Tong Funeral" features an excellent team of leading jazz artists of the time (Steve Lacy and Gato Barbieri on saxes, Steve Swallow on bass and Larry Coryell on guitar as well as others). Musically this album is an organic mix of avant-garde jazz, experimental jazz orchestral music and early jazz fusion. Burton's vibraphone isn't a very casual instrument, but it fits perfectly to the mix.

A great example of how accessible and pleasant avant-garde jazz can sometimes be.
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