He is no longer of course the New Vibe Man in Town, to riff on the title of his 1961 debut album as leader. Regardless, the remarkable influence of Gary Burton transcends facile slogans and our thralldom to the ephemeral. In an interview in the States Burton says he is however calling it a day to retire, the long time Berklee academic and distinguished Pat Metheny and Chick Corea collaborator not to mention a noted talent spotter (Scotland's Tommy Smith among them) explaining his rationale in a revealing interview with a newspaper in his home state.
Burton who turned 74 last month speaking to the Miami Herald says that he is looking to “leave at a sensible time with dignity” and not end up playing until advanced old age. As for what the future holds he muses: “Do I serve on a Grammy committee, which I’ve done for years. Or do I continue to teach my online course for Berklee? How would I feel about that? Right now, part of me says it will become frustrating to talk about music and focus on music if I’m not able to participate in it and enjoy it myself. That may well become frustrating, so I’m kind of assuming that I’m going to move on to new interests in life. I figure I’ve got another 20, 25 years left in another phase of life. My mother's 101, so at least gene-wise, if I don't drink myself to death, I'll be living a fairly long life.”