Well known throughout his five-decade career for his quartets, beginning with his 1967 group featuring Larry Coryell, Roy Haynes and Steve Swallow, Gary Burton has returned to that configuration for the first time since the mid-'90s with the new disc, "Common Ground." The Grammy-winning pioneer of the four mallet technique of playing the vibes is not only delivering his first studio release in six years but is also introducing his latest band. "I've always liked the vibraphone-guitar sound," says Burton. "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." The young guitarist Julian Lage rejoins Burton's ensemble along with drummer Antonio Sanchez and bassist Scott Colley.
Though the world is poorer now that Freddie Hubbard is gone, it gets richer as previously unheard documentation of his art emerges for the public to savor on "Pinnacle: Live and Unreleased From Keystone Korner." Recorded at the famed jazz club in San Francisco in 1980, Hubbard's explosive and lyrical virtuosity as well as his flow of brilliant, spontaneous ideas are on full display. His band of West Coast all-stars includes pianist Billy Childs, drummer Eddie Marshall, saxophonist Hadley Caliman and trombonist Phil Ranelin.