Our “Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion” feature — where we pose one question via email to a small number of prominent and diverse people — is designed to provoke a lively response that will potentially include the memories and/or opinion of those solicited. We are currently in the midst of producing the current edition, in which we are asking the question, “Who was your childhood hero?”
Here is famed vibraphonist Gary Burton’s contribution, received earlier this week:
“Well, when I think childhood hero, you mean, like at age 8 or 10? Or, more likely, my first jazz hero.
“That would have been definitely Duke Ellington, more specifically the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Amazingly, when I was about 14, I would guess, the Ellington band played a gig at my local high school in rural Indiana. It was my first chance to see world-famous jazz musicians live in person, and it was stunning. Duke was great on stage, with all his different outfits and kidding around with the audience, and the music just swung like crazy. I had been playing jazz for a couple of years, or trying to, anyway, so I was ready for the experience. I got to see the band again a year or two later at a jazz festival.”
Look for the complete new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion,” which will be published in the near future. Meanwhile, if you would like to read previous editions, go here.
Gary Burton plays “No More Blues”