Birthplace: Anderson, IL
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Jazz Musician
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Jazz vibraphonist
One of the world's more prominent vibraphonists, Gary Burton began his training on the piano, but switched to the instrument with which he has since established himself before the age of 17. His first recordings were done with country guitarists Hank Garland and Chet Atkins; but shortly afterwards he enrolled at the Berklee College of Music and changed his focus to jazz, dropping out after two years to begin his life as a full-time musician. By 1964 he was a member of Stan Getz's band, with whom he spent 2 years touring and recording.
After leaving Getz, Burton organized his own jazz-rock band in 1967 and helped to usher in the fusion movement that reached its peak in the mid-1970s. The various line-ups of his subsequent projects included the participation of later well-known players such as Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, and Chick Corea, and in many cases helped to establish the musicians' careers by introducing them to a wider audience.
By 1971, Gary Burton had again returned to Berklee -- this time as an educator. He has remained a member of the Berklee faculty ever since, assuming the role of Dean of Curriculum in 1985 and moving up to Executive Vice-President in 1996. The school awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1989.
Throughout his career, Burton has explored many different approaches to jazz, from entirely solo performance to his six-guitar band Six Pack; but all have featured his distinctive technique, which frequently makes use of four mallets simultaneously. In his 40-years of recording, an extensive back-catalogue has accumulated on the labels RCA, ECM, GRP and Concord Jazz, with Grammy awards or nominations spanning from 1971's Alone at Last to 2002's Virtuosi.
University: Berklee College of Music, Boston (dropped out)
Professor: Berklee College of Music, Boston (1971-)
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