The Michigan Daily
Wednesday, April 24, 1985
Vibraphonist to jazz up Pig
By Marc Taras
M Y FONDNESS for the music of
vibraphonist Gary Burton goes
way back. Fifteen years. Back to the
first night I really listened to jazz
music. It has been my pleasure to see
him on a number of occasions. In quar-
tet with Pat Metheney over ten years
ago. With Eberhard Weber featured on
bass. Twice in duets with Chick Corea.
Naturally I am looking forward to this
Thursday night. Gary Burton will be
bringing an exciting new quartet (in-
cluding Makoto Ozone and Steve
Swallow) to Ann Arbor for two shows, 8
and 11 p.m. at the Blind Pig.
Gary Burton is a product of the Mid-
west. He was born in Indiana in 1943.
This is surprising to me since he seems
to have been winning jazz polls forever.
(Shouldn't he be at least 60?) He began
his recording career at 17 with the great
Nashville guitarist Hank Garland.
Through another legendary guitarist,
Chet Atkins, Burton began a long
relationship with RCA records. Gary
worked at the Berklee College of Music
for a while, honing his remarkable four
mallet vibes tachnique, but by 1962 his
career with RCA was taking off and he
was on the road with pianist George
Shearing. From 1964 to 1966 Gary
blossomed with the Stan Getz Quartet.
Burton was himself the leader of one of
the most influential groups of the six-
ties; a quartet which featured guitarist
Larry Coryell, bassist Steve Swallow,
and drummer Roy Haynes.
Burton's albums demonstrate his
range of musical vision. He has recor-
ded solos, duets, lotsa quartets, cham-
ber groups, large ensembles, and or-
chestras. He has two LPs dedicated to
the music of Carla Bley, and his recor-
ded several albums with guest artists
such as Keith Jarrett and Stephane
Grapelli. But he always seems to return
to the quartet format.
Burton is an impeccable player. It's
that simple. His technique is peerless.
His rhythm is amazing. His lyricism is
enchanting. His sound will make you
shiver. I fell in love with that sound at
first listening. Like silver raindrops
falling from green leaves. The dew
rising in the morning sky. Clouds. And
Birds. And oh, yes! He can swing! Oh
yes! The meditative qualities of his
music make Gary a target for "New
Age" labeling but it sounds like jazz to
Especially when I hear him in a quar-
tet like we will see this Thursday night.
Those of you who saw the youthful
Japanese keyboard wizard Makoto
Ozone when he was at the Pig in
February will be delighted to know that
he will be playing piano with Burton's
quartet. This is reason enough to at-
tend. Makoto is rightfully making
waves throughout the jazz world as the
greatest young pianist to emerge in
years. When you hear his outstanding
technique and witness his unabashed
romanticism you will understand why
folks are up and kicking. If this offer
isn't tempting enough, just wait!
There's more! Featured on bass Thur-
sday night in a (now) rare appearance
with the Gary Burton Quartet....Steve
Swallow. The guy, like his longtime
partner, is beyond all superlatives. A
rewarding bassist, a thoughtful soloist,
and a compelling composer, Swallow
has been working with Carla Bley
(among others) in recent years. His in-
triguing contributions to a new LP by
producer Kip Hanrahan (Con-
jure-Music for the Texts of Ishmael
Reed) are especially noteworthy. Add
to this group the rhythmic spice of
another young Burton protege, Adam
Nussbaum, on drums and you have a
Gary Burton Quartet that can stand up
to any he's led in terms of excitement
Soft. Vibrate. Respond. This Thur-
sday night at the Blind Pig the newest
Gary Burton quartet will provide the
perfect release. Tension turning to
beauty in two shows at 8 and 11 p.m. I
may require a double dose.
Vibraphonist Gary Burton, reknown for the bursting with talent quartets h*
has organized and played in, returns with another show stopping foursome
Thursday night at the Blind Pig.
drama to unfold
direCtedbyBy Noelle Brower
A ril11 13 -2S2 USPENSION Theatre's production
for tiCket info.Call662 -728 2of Sam Shepard's The Curse of the
Starving Class marks the end of their
B eware of Greeks bearing sh ticks. second season in Ann Arbor. Noted for
their avant garde productions, this
relatively young theatre group has gar-
nered much praise from critics for its
unusual interpretations of a diverse
range of plays.
Originally an ambitious project con-
ceived by three 1983 graduates of
Grinell College in Iowa, Suspension
Theatre strove to produce plays that
were not repertory mainstays. Andy
Mennick, who serves as the group's ar-
tistic director and designer explained,
"We didn't want to do standard
fare...standard was out. Or if we did do
standard, we wanted to do it like no one
had done it before...we wanted to bring
scripts that haven't been, but should
have been done."
The first play they mounted for the
public was in the fall of '83, a little
known, 19th Russian drama called The
Forest. Although this production
brought the group critical success, the
public paid them little attention. Next
came last fall's When We Dead
Awaken, a work of Ibsen not often per-
Ann Arbor has since proven to be a
receptive audience to Suspension
Theatre. Their last production was
Beckett's Endgame, their most suc-
cessful endeavor to date.
Their current production of
Shepard's The Curse of the Starving
Class has been a challenge to all in-
volved. Mennick commented,
"Critically speaking, Shepard falls into
a post-absurdist mode...and acting that
kind of material takes heroic amounts
of energy because so much of the
comedy is blended into the drama. I
don't think there's an American
playwright that is so poetically in touch
with the (American) vernacular."
Why Shepard's play? "(There were)
certain concerns when we started in
that some of Shepard's material dates
rather quickly-was The Curse of the
Starving Class pertinent to the '80s? We
concluded that it was. I think there are
two issues in this play that are ap-
plicable to today. First, there is curren-
tly a big conservative push towards
traditional family values. Second this
pressing drive for more...I think we're
living in a much more materialistic
world than when Shepard wrote [this
To prove this point they have
designed a set assembled of products
associated with a consumer world.
"The set is made out of food and ap-
pliance cartons--it will be like walking
into a giant warehouse," said Mennick.
John Nicolson and Brian Harcour
who with Mennick, form the core of
Suspension Theatre, are members of
the cast along with Deborah Allen,
Helen Oravetz, Hugh McCarthy, and
Matt Lanovich (in his last Ann Arbor
Mennick calls this his "smartest cast
so far...They have really grasped this
text...By the end of a good rehearsal,
people are so wiped out!"
Performances will be April 26-28 anc
May 3-5 at the Friend's Center, 1420 Hill
St., in Ann Arbor.
the mat new
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RESTAURANT & BAR
Got a light?
The Minutemen, that hardcore-cum-fusion-cum-whatever trio from SST records brings their rollicking set to Michigan
Saturday and Sunday night. Their sound is distinctly garage: effects are minimal, but the sound is as diverse as it gets.
From the four-note noise of their 'What Makes A Man Start Fires' record, to the slightly refined 'Buzz or Howl Under
the Influence of Heat' LP to the more than critically acclaimed 'Double Nickels On the Dime' LP of late, the
Minutemen have risen out of a shifty obscurity to land themselves on Rolling Stone's four-star list and Rockbill mag's
album of the year (Double Nickels). Saturday night they will appear at Traxx on Gratiot west of Seven Mile in Detroit
with Milwaukee's finest, Die Kreuzen, and with Ann Arbor's newest, the Hyenas. Sunday they will appear at the Blind
Pig with the more than eclectic Private Angst. Take a break from studying and check out just what the hell all this post-
hardcore nonsense is all about.
Reggae band splashes into town
F IRST LIGHT, "rankin' reggae"
from Cleveland, bring their root-
sier rock reggae show to Ann Arbor
three times this week. Formed from
five former I-tal members and two
studio musicians, First Light has en-
joyed tremendous success on Ohio
campuses, and most notably, opened up
for the Clash last May.
Their repertoire is not as typical as
other American reggae like I-tal or
Black Market. Besides the usual smat-
tering of Rastafarian standards, like
Marley's "Waiting in Vain," First
Light goes off into their own jazzy ren-
ditions of favorites like "Hot Fun In the
Summer Time." The variance from the
reggae theme has a strong base-they
are as much jazz musicians as reggae
minstrels. In short, they're not going
overboard on the rootsy stuff, nor are
they slickening reggae ala UB40&
: : .......::.:::: :::.:.::..:: s..r
s7 _ee see
with this entire ad $1 .00 off any $4.00
admission. 1 or 2 tickets. Good all