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Miami Herald Feature: Grammy-winning jazz superstar Gary Burton to play final concerts in March, then retire

Superstar jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton of Fort Lauderdale says this definitely is it: Beginning Wednesday, he’ll perform 13 final concerts in eight cities in 17 days.

Burton — who helped revolutionize modern jazz and then risked his career by coming out as gay in a 1994 NPR interview — is again making an announcement other big stars would dread. The seven-time Grammy winner says that when this brief tour is over, he’ll retire and never again play music, on stage or off.

“I only enjoy playing with people,” Burton says. “It just doesn’t seem very fulfilling or satisfying to play by myself, or to sit down and play the piano for a while and so on. Never has. I’ve always been somebody who wanted the live experience.”

Read the full article by Steve Rothaus


  1. Rocky Gordon

    March 1, 2017 (17:14) Reply

    I don’t know why they have to mention Gary Burton is gay. Who cares? In the jazz world no one cares about that crap…EVER! In fact, I only look at Gary Burton as this bigger than life phenomenon who was a prodigy in his teens, and became the one of the greatest musicians of all time, and the greatest technician of the vibraphone. I would like to see him continue to play, even for the hell of it.

  2. Perry Beider

    March 6, 2017 (12:58) Reply

    Mr. Burton, I was at your 8:00 PM set at Blues Alley last Thursday. (In case you remember this level of detail, as you and Mr. Ozone had to wend your way across the room to find a path to the stage, I was the guy you passed who was standing while applauding.) Reading the Miami Herald article, I was very surprised to see that your playing abilities have begun slipping; certainly, absolutely no diminution of your musicianship was evident to my ears. Admittedly, I’m a layman–but a layman with 14 of your albums, including all three CDs and one DVD of your duets with Mr. Ozone! Which brings me to a request: if this tour indeed marks the end not only of your performing days but of any playing at all, please consider giving us fans one last album of Burton / Ozone duets. If you recorded it live while your at Birdland this week, you’d have as many of 10 sets of songs to choose from; and based on what I heard last week, I have to believe that there would be at least one CD worth of selections that you felt were up to your standards.

    In any case, thanks again for all the beauty and joy you have brought into my life, and best wishes to you on the next stage of yours.

  3. Alec Boyce

    March 14, 2017 (21:13) Reply

    Thank you for sharing your gift!

  4. Tom Winsch

    March 24, 2017 (21:48) Reply

    It disturbs me to hear it stated that Gary “risked his career by coming out as gay”. This is not related to his talent, and the fact that I have been enjoying his music for over 30 years. Particularly his collaboration with Chick Corea and Makoto Ozone. I just had the supreme pleasure of hearing Gary and Makoto perform at Birdland in NY about two weeks ago. I am very sad that I will never hear him perform again, but I’m very grateful that his music has been a part of my life.

  5. Patrick Sanders

    August 27, 2017 (16:21) Reply

    Thank you for all of the great tunes and inspiration, Mr Burton. I’m sorry I never had the opportunity to see you live.

  6. Christopher

    January 2, 2018 (22:35) Reply

    Dear Gary,

    I feel blessed to have seen you live several times; I’ve enjoyed your great musical talent for many years. I wish you all the best in your retirement and wish you all the best.

    Thank you and may god bless you!!

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