Interview: Gary Burton

The jazz vibraphonist discusses his collaboration with Chick Corea ahead of Saturday's show

Two of America's finest contemporary jazz artists, pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton, come to Prague Saturday, March 26, celebrating the 39th year of their amazing musical partnership. They established new standards for jazz duets with their first release, Crystal Silence, in 1973, and have played to enthusiastic audiences around the world every year since.


Before departing on their current tour, which will also take them through Istanbul, Bratislava and Moscow, Gary Burton took time to answer questions via e-mail.


Most collaborations run their course and have a natural end. What keeps pulling you and Chick back together -- the music, friendship, or a combination of the two?


It's definitely the music. The friendship is fine, too, and we would stay friends even if we stopped playing together. But so far, the music works so well for us that we are always drawn back to working together every year.


You and Chick have been playing together for longer than some of your fans have been alive. How do you keep it fresh?


One reason is that we don't play all year long. We set aside a couple of months, usually, to tour and get back into the music. So it tends to stay fresh that way. And we have a very strong rapport that has never left us, too.


How did you feel when The New Crystal Silence, the double-disc update of your seminal first album together, won a Grammy Award?


It was very affirming to see our record honoring 35 years of playing together win a Grammy. Maybe next year, when we reach 40 years, our new record will have a chance for a Grammy, too.


Aside from possible favorites like Señor Mouse and Crystal Silence, you aren’t playing music from that release on this tour. What can we expect to hear?



We decided to choose well-known composers, but not necessarily well-known songs. We have pieces by [Dave] Brubeck, [Antonio Carlos] Jobim, Kurt Weill, Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, [Thelonius] Monk.


You toured Central and Eastern Europe, even Russia, during the Cold War years. What is it like when you play here now? Is the atmosphere different? Do the audiences react differently?


Playing in the Eastern countries now feels so different, I can hardly describe it. Visually, everything is colorful and attractive instead of plain and drab. The people are more enthusiastic and comfortable with the concert experience. It's like everything came alive.


Any particular thoughts or feelings about playing in Prague?


I have had two very memorable experiences playing in Prague before, in '78 and '05. Now I get to come with Chick, a whole new experience. I’m looking forward to it very much.


• Chick Corea & Gary Burton play the Prague Congress Center (Kongresové centrum Praha) on Saturday, March 26, 2011 from 8pm; advance tickets are available through the Ticketpro network

Video on YouTube

Related articles

  • The Prague Orgy - a new Czech film in English in Czech cinemas by Michal Kráčmer

    LESS LIBERTY, BETTER FUCKS

  • Festival 4+4 Days in Motion by Eliška Míkovcová (4+4 Festival)

    Festival 4+4 Days in Motion to start in Desfours Palace, this year’s slogan is Nobody Has Anything

  • Lunchmeat Festival 2019—Dark Stars on the Horizon by Tony Ozuna - (Photo Lunchmeat Festival)

    Lunchmeat Festival returns to Prague at the end of September as the leading arena for cutting-edge electronic music and with more audio-visual punch than ever before. Their new motto is a challenge to the mainstream: “obsessed with audio-visual mindf**cks— & those who question the status quo.”

  • The Best European Locations For Hen & Stag Do's by Lucy Stevens

    Alpha Travel Insurance have ranked Europe's top Stag and Hen do destinations and indexed them based on factors including the cost of flights and hotel, the cost of a pint and the number of bars and activities available to find out which city comes out on top.



  • Circus and Theatre Festival Letní Letná Kicks off Next Week by Paul Lysek

    The "Leave the Crowd Speachless" Summer Circus Festival is back for its 16th Season at Letna.

  • Events for the week of August 19 - 23 by Narmin Ismiyeva

    We've highlighted five events for this week including The Great Beauty, Latino Anděl and Festival of Illustration.

  • Events for the weekend 17 - 18 August by Narmin Ismiyeva

    Are you making plans for the weekend? We've highlighted six events including the 1981 Secondhand Festival, beer tasting in the Botanical Garden, Etnopicnic and a lesson of Argentine tango atop Lucerna. 

  • Events for the weekend 3 - 4 August by Narmin Ismiyeva

    Are you making plans for the weekend? We've selected six events including the Czech version of the famous South Asian festival of love and colors that will take place on Střelecký Island on Saturday.

  • Events for the week 29 July - 2 August by Narmin Ismiyeva

    Are you in Prague this week looking for things to do? We have one event for each day, including yoga in Stromovka and screening of Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel in Karlín.

  • New exhibition opens at National Library of Technology by Narmin Ismiyeva

    The National Library of Technology in Dejvice (NTK) is especially popular among students, however, anyone can have access to its study areas. Go explore the unique space and the art exhibition it is currently presenting.

Facebook comments

T.G.I. Friday's (Anděl)

A true legend in the restaurant industry - TGI Friday's

Pražské Benátky

Enjoy Prague from a different view

T.G.I. Friday's (Příkopy)

A true legend in the restaurant industry - TGI Friday's

KUKBURG - Farm to table

Our meat and products straight to your table

Charles Bridge Museum

Discover the history of Prague’s famous Charles Bridge

Trabant Museum Prague

Trabant Museum @ STK Motol

Army Museum Žižkov

Armádní muzeum Žižkov

National Memorial to the...

Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády


PragueMonitor.com

Prague’s # 1 source for Czech news in English…


PragueConnect.cz

Expat and Czech Business Professional Network


Tschech.News

German Language Info Service