Jazz Birthdays: Django and Burton | January 23, 2013
Gary Burton 1943
Gary Burton is a noted innovator on the vibraphone. He developed the “Burton grip,” a unique technique using four mallets over the usual two, which allows for a more pianistic approach to melody and harmony. Equally important as a jazz educator, he’s worked at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for nearly 30 years — first as a percussion teacher, then as dean of curriculum, and finally as executive vice president. Gary’s long-running collaboration with pianist Chick Corea is a magical pairing.
“Certainly one of the more common experiences in the jazz field is discovering someone new. Improvising musicians are capable of being musical travelers, voyagers. We want to join in on whatever we hear. There is a freedom to wander the musical landscape.” –Gary Burton
credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Image
Django Reinhardt 1910-1953
Born in Belgium to gypsy parents, the Django was influenced by jazz recordings of Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. By 1934, he’d formed the Quintet of the Hot Club of France with violinist Stephane Grappelli, which took Europe by storm with its “gypsy jazz.” Reinhardt is also known for his exceptional guitar technique, especially given that he’d been injured in a fire and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand were partially paralyzed.
“Jazz attracted me because in it I found a formal perfection and instrumental precision that I admire in classical music, but which popular music doesn’t have.” — Django Reinhardt