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This is it! Gary Announces his Retirement from the Jazz World!

Gary and MakotoAs Gary says, “I have been preparing for this for the past two years, gradually reducing my commitments and making the final decision for when to step back from my six decades of performing.  Let’s just say, for health reasons, this is the right time to start a new chapter in my life.”

Gary will begin his final USA tour March 1 in D.C., touring with his long-time collaborator, pianist Makoto Ozone — the leading jazz musician in Japan.  Gary and Makoto have recorded a number of CDs together and played too many concerts to count over the 30-some years of their musical partnership.  Gary chose their critically acclaimed duet setting as the way he wanted to closeout his musical career.

The duo will be playing up and down the East coast along with some dates in the Midwest, revisiting some of the places they have played regularly over the years. This provides a chance for friends and longtime fans to catch one more performance of Gary and Makoto at their finest.



  1. Mathias Haus

    February 24, 2017 (15:28) Reply

    wow….that’s …unbelievable. i’ll be writing to you soon,

    all the best, Mathias

  2. Mitsu Ogiahra

    February 24, 2017 (15:28) Reply

    For decades Gary’s music has inspired and awed me. He is a true pioneer! I am very saddened to hear of Gary’s decision to retire. I am looking forward to attending, in the front row, the next week’s concert in Fort Lauderdale by the great Burton-Ozone duo.

  3. Julian

    February 24, 2017 (15:33) Reply

    Dear Gary, Thank you for your wisdom and beautiful music!

  4. David C

    February 24, 2017 (15:47) Reply

    Would be nice to see you come to California…

    • Mike Hash

      February 25, 2017 (02:45) Reply

      Are you coming to Nor Cal?!! Bring Metheny too!!

      • Brian Whistler

        February 28, 2017 (20:53)

        Please come to California! We love you in SF!

  5. Manabu Tokunaga

    February 24, 2017 (15:55) Reply

    Gary, thank you so much for making a huge impact you left in the Jazz, and I am so glad fortunate to have met you through Berklee. You will continue to live in my collection of albums you have created for us and I will continue to cherish them. Enjoy your next chapter in life. — Manabu Tokunaga, San Francisco, CA

  6. Jerry Tachoir

    February 24, 2017 (16:21) Reply

    Hey GB. This is a surprise, but well deserved. It has been a pleasure knowing you and studying with you at Berklee. Sorry we lost touch over the years. Not sure of your health issues, but I hope it’s manageable. Thanks again for inspiration and great music. You really have been a trend setter. Best Jerry Tachoir

  7. Bruce Kelley

    February 24, 2017 (16:22) Reply

    Dear Gary,
    Thank you for so much! You’ve have been, and will remain a giant in jazz forever. God bless for all you’ve given. Bruce Kelley

  8. John Daly

    February 24, 2017 (17:23) Reply

    Best of luck Gary thank you fir all the great recordings you are an amazing guy I wish you a long a happy retirement
    John Daly Limerick Ireland
    Ps we share the same birth date

  9. David Cutler

    February 24, 2017 (17:26) Reply

    Sorry to hear, have a restful time. Thanks for some great music.

  10. Anders Åstrand

    February 24, 2017 (18:19) Reply

    My warmest thanks for all the inspiration !! All the fantastic Music projects you have been doing!!! All the education in music and for all Vibe-players!! I wish you all the best for new directions!! Warmest regards Anders Åstrand

  11. Tom Beckham

    February 24, 2017 (18:22) Reply

    Thanks for giving us one last go’round Gary! I’ll look forward to seeing you in NYC.
    Tom Beckham

  12. Christopher McDole

    February 24, 2017 (18:48) Reply

    Thank you for moving the music forward. And for showing horn players that Vibes can hang!

  13. Tom Lorenz

    February 24, 2017 (19:18) Reply

    Dear Gary,

    that is an unbelievable announcement and I’m sad about this, but I’m very sure, you know exactly what is the best for yourself. And at the proud age of 74 you may enjoy a way of life, that is much more calmer. I enjoyed your music for so many years and I were very proud, that you had played on my instrument with the WDR-Big Band in Cologne. I thank you so much for inspiration and wish you the best.
    Best, Tom Lorenz

  14. Dana Taylor

    February 24, 2017 (19:22) Reply

    Dear Gary,

    Congratulations on a wonderful career and life. It was a pleasure
    to see you and Makoto at the Blue Note in 2014 and to bring
    some of my students.

    Thank goodness for recordings.

    Dana Taylor
    (from Princeton, IN)

  15. Kevin Penfield

    February 24, 2017 (20:04) Reply

    The Time Machine, still my favorite album in my collection, really opened my ears, and mind, to vibes.

  16. Martin Fabricius

    February 24, 2017 (20:23) Reply

    Thank for sharing your music and wisdom so generously. You gave me something very valuable when I was at Berklee. I’ll do my best to pass it on and keep sharing. Thank you Maestro.

  17. Michael Hatfield

    February 24, 2017 (20:56) Reply

    Gary, I would have had a long ride back to Indiana University if it wasn’t for you, and the new musical directions you lead me to. Your lessons changed my life, and ultimately my brother Brad’s as well! You set a high bar for yourself and have a lengthy legacy to go along with it, and I hope you don’t get too antsy when you try to retire– again! For some reason, I know you’ll stay busy, and I hope your health stays strong. Thanks for all that you do, and did!
    Michael Hatfield, San Francisco, Ca.

  18. Stephen Lynerd

    February 24, 2017 (21:31) Reply

    Such an inspiration and example. Can’t wait to see you soon.

  19. Matthew Rockwell

    February 24, 2017 (22:33) Reply

    Hey…, still working on Chega De Saudade from your “Alone At Last” album! Wonderful and thought provoking, especially from the view of a three octave instrument!

  20. Ron Peters

    February 24, 2017 (22:41) Reply

    Gary- Your music has been a big influence in my life. I spent time at Berklee in the early ’70’s and studied guitar with both Mick Goodrick and Pat Metheny (who was using your office at the time). As an artist you have changed the course of jazz and influenced many players..! Enjoy your retirement, it is well deserved. You will be missed but your music will live on..!

    -Ron Peters
    Seattle, WA

  21. Robert Welland

    February 24, 2017 (22:56) Reply

    Oh, I wish you would have made it to the west coast; I first saw you play at Amazingrace in Evanston in the mid-1970’s when I was a young teen. Hello Hotel was the first album I bought with my own money. I enjoyed seeing you at Jazz Alley when you were in Seattle. So much wonderful music. I hope you remain healthy and enjoy a good long retirement.

  22. Chris Moore

    February 25, 2017 (00:48) Reply

    You have been my number one musical inspiration. Thank you for sharing your talents with us for so many years, and being so nice to me when I was a teen!

  23. Tarik Dosdogru

    February 25, 2017 (09:45) Reply

    Thanks for all the great inspiring music and playing!

  24. Charles Xavier

    February 25, 2017 (11:18) Reply

    Thanks for helping a 15 Year old kid follow his dream. You recommended Ted Wolfe and changed my life.

    Have a Happy,

    Charlie Xaviier.

  25. Arlen

    February 25, 2017 (11:37) Reply

    I don’t know what say ! I’m sad !!!!!!! Here from Brazil for years I wait to see Mr. Gary Burton. I study vibraphone autodidact just listening your discs ! Mr. Gary the world need of your music !!!!! But I only can be thankful to it !!!!!!! Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. John Mark Piper

    February 25, 2017 (13:05) Reply

    Thank you for your patience, example of greatness and beautiful presentation of the vibraphone.

  27. Sandro Pallua

    February 25, 2017 (16:36) Reply

    Dear Gary, thank you for the big
    inspiration you gave to me all these years.

  28. Susan Pascal

    February 25, 2017 (17:19) Reply

    It’s been amazing beyond words to have your inspired music in my life! I’ll be looking at which concert to get to from Seattle. Best wishes to you and your family for more good times to come. –Susan Pascal

  29. Anders Bostrom

    February 26, 2017 (11:56) Reply

    Studying with you at Berklee and playing with you on the SS Norway floating jazz festival with a bunch of fellow top Berklee musicians was a great and inspiring experience.
    Your album with Keith Jarrett was the first jazz record I got and the reason I went to Berklee.
    We will miss your live gigs but we will always have your records to listen to.
    Thank you.

  30. Perry Beider

    February 26, 2017 (18:35) Reply

    Mr. Burton, thank God I saw the email from Blues Alley and was able to get a ticket for your show this week. I’m so sorry—for you, and for all of us—that health issues are pushing you into retirement. This will be the fifth time I’ve been privileged to hear you in person, and if this fifth one has to be the last, at least it will include Mr. Ozone—I treasure your three duet CDs and the DVD. Thank you for all the beauty and joy you have brought into my life and best wishes on the next chapter of yours.

  31. Marco S. Zuppone

    February 28, 2017 (04:13) Reply

    Dear Mr. Burton,

    Since I moved in UK (2006) I never missed your concerts in London. All of them were absolutely fabulous.
    Thanks to you I discovered great musicians as Julian Lage, Makoto Ozone and many others.
    I wish you all the best! I do not know if I will be able to come in US to attend one of your last concerts but I will do my best.
    All the best!!!!
    Marco S. Zuppone – Reading, UK.

  32. Mark Zandveld

    March 1, 2017 (18:05) Reply

    Wow that’s a bit of a shock! What a decision after so many years playing and accomplishments. Gary Burton has influenced me greatly with his melodic jazz. My first jazz CD was actually Gary Burton – New Quartet. I was more of an ECM guy than Blue Note, more into guitar and vibes than horns and piano, and more into Burton than Miles. Without Gary I wouldn’t have initiated Zandscape with Gunnar Graafmans on vibes.

  33. Lisa McLean

    March 1, 2017 (18:05) Reply

    You and dad (Red Wick) inspired me to enjoy music from an early age when I used to play around and under your sets of vibes as you practiced together in Princeton, IN. Vibraphone was the first musical instrument I played due to both you and dad’s influence. My husband and I listen to your music and read about your music adventures. Enjoy retirement and keep inspiring others!

    Lisa Wick McLean
    Des Moines, IA and Port Charlotte, FL (from Princeton, IN)

  34. Michael Fox

    March 2, 2017 (11:07) Reply

    Dear Gary,

    We will be at your 8pm in Blues Alley tonight – and though I played with Makoto in Herb’s band from 81-83, I haven’t heard either of you live since.

    But your influence and collaborations throughout the years have been inspiring and encouraging to me even though I’m an avocational trumpet player these days.

    Exposing yourself in a duo setting is an act of artistic courage and sharing your musical life while facing health challenges an act of spiritual courage.

    Thank you Gary, for sharing your prodigious talent and life with us all through your music and teaching.

    Michael Fox

  35. Frans

    March 3, 2017 (04:50) Reply

    Though to be expected, still when you dropped the message, I feel shocked. My vibes-hero finally stops after a great career. Take care Gary and really a sincere thank you for all the hours your performances and music has given my life an upbeat feeling. I am glad that I can still listen to it for the rest of my life. Thanks for making it all happen for you but also for all your fans worldwide. You have brought a lot of joy to the world! A whole hearted thank you from Europe. Take care!

  36. Narboni

    March 3, 2017 (06:00) Reply

    Fist time I’ve seen Gary in concert – in duet with Chick – was in Paris around 1980 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
    I was 16 and hesitating beetween drums or vibes. That night I decided and choose… guess what !
    Last time I’ve seen Gary (with Chick again) was in Metz, east of France where I now live, about two years ago.
    Gary is all my life, I’m sad with his choice but I respect it…

  37. David Kessler

    March 3, 2017 (15:24) Reply


    If your retirement is only half as enjoyable and successful as your incredible career you will be blessed as you should be.I first heard your music when I was young from my father who loved jazz,It was from him that I learned my love for music. I am a collector of vinyl,just love the way it sounds. I have listened to your music for many years and have had the pleasure of seeing you perform several times. I saw you most recently at Chicks 75th birthday bash at the Blue Note. I love you guys together, two brilliant musicians. after the show at the Blue Note Chick had signed a pile of albums for me and said that I should have you sign the ones I brought of you and you and him together. He told me that you would sign if I asked but you had left quickly after the show. I thought that I might not be able to see you again, your next show was in Florida. I just saw that you will be at Birdland and bought tickets immediately.I was shocked when I just read that you will be retiring after this tour so I am very happy that I will get to see you one more time and perhaps finally meet you and get some things signed(a great addition to any record collection) I have never had the pleasure of meeting you and would love to shake your hand and thank you for the wonderful music. I have many records of yours and would love to get them signed. However, I do not want to be rude and assume that you would accommodate my request so I am asking how I should go about this. See you next week.

  38. Tom Schaff

    March 4, 2017 (22:16) Reply

    35 years ago, I saw Gary Burton amaze with 4 mallets in the sticks of the Dakotas. March 17, I’m thrilled that my 15 year old vibraphonist gets to say goodbye to the legend. Amazing to me that tickets are available…our world has no sense of the magic of jazz. Congrats on living your life, your way, Mr Burton. Thank you for the amazing moments you have given the world throughout your life!

  39. Jay Elkins

    March 4, 2017 (23:41) Reply

    Michael Ayres was my roommate in Chicago when I was at the conservatory. He introduced me to your work and I was hooked forever.
    I’ll see you at Byrdland.
    Jay Elkins

  40. carmen spofford

    March 8, 2017 (20:37) Reply

    Hi Gary, As you know, I’ve been a Gary Burton groupie and friend for over 30 years, since you performed at clubs around Cambridge, etc. and I’m really sorry that you’re not including Seattle in your farewell tour. But my husband and I wish you lots of happiness in your retirement and if you’re ever out here again, please give us a call. We will miss you. Carmen Spofford, Seattle

  41. Stefan Feurich

    March 10, 2017 (07:39) Reply

    thank you for you’re inspiring musicianship, records and concerts.I’ve seen you several times in Germany live and was always flashed about your musical and technical skills playing for my opinion often on the edge of possibilities on that wonderful Instrument.But life is a “long and winding road”,the Beatles stated this and it’s true!Sixty years and thousands of concerts – it all happened to you and at least for every one around the world
    when listening to your music.So I have to say thank you, Gary, for all the inspiration and I wish you the best
    for future times to come !
    Stefan Feurich / Berlin / Germany

  42. Bob Adler

    March 13, 2017 (13:10) Reply


    I started learning the vibes 45 years ago because of you. Now, after a 30 year absence and at 69, I am learning again because of reading your book twice! Yes, things are a bit harder to grasp but what the hell! My teacher, Nick Mancini, here in LA is very patient with me. So thank you for all your inspiration. One request: please consider one concert in California. Tell Mr. Kurland I’ll even help underwrite it.

    Bob Adler / Malibu CA

  43. Andrés Jojoa Izquierdo

    March 14, 2017 (22:41) Reply

    Maestro Gary Burton muchas gracias por toda esa bella música,gracias por darle vida y alma al vibráfono a tan maravilloso instrumento, su música y su legado vivirán por siempre, un fuerte abrazo desde Pasto Nariño Colombia,mucha vida para usted maestro.

  44. David Teoli

    March 15, 2017 (10:10) Reply

    Thank you Gary for your inspiring contribution to me, and Jazz improvisational music and the vibraphone. I fell in love with the vibes as a HS sophomore back in 1978 while seeing you perform with Chick at Saratoga Performing Arts Jazz festival. My friends and I were walking around collecting autographs and while taking a break leaning up against a white car, here you come up “Excuse me, I have to get my vibes out of the car”. A few years later I eventually bought my own used set of vibes and have played off/on as a hobby while attending a few more of your concerts through out the years. Now, many years later my oldest son just turned 17 and is pursuing drums/vibes as an instrument. Both of us enjoyed seeing you and Makoto last night at the SPACE creating yet another lasting memory that we will forever cherish. I wish you all the best in your next endeavor. “Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them”. – Louis Armstrong
    -Dave Teoli/ Willowbrook, IL

  45. Janice Sackett

    March 15, 2017 (10:39) Reply

    I have been inspired by your music since I first heard you at a PAS event back in the 1970’s. You inspired me to try playing jazz at Berklee, and even though playing jazz wasn’t for me, I am forever grateful for the experience.
    Your performance at Space in Evanston last night was magic.
    I wish you many years of health and happiness in your retirement.
    Janice Sackett/Skokie, IL

  46. J. Robert "Bob" Thompson

    March 15, 2017 (22:28) Reply

    Dear Gary, I had hoped to get to Evanston last night…it wasn’t to be. But I am so fortunate to have heard/seen (the seen multiplies the infinitely moving heard a hundred fold) you play enough times that I don’t feel deprived: February, 1965 with Stan Getz at the San Francisco Fairmount proved an amazing discovery of this “kid'” (I was a kid myself, 3 years older than you) on the vibes…with four mallets! Then a long drought until you made two appearances in my adopted hometown to play at Colorado College, then a night in the early 90’s at the Jazz Showcase in the old Blackstone Hotel, then twice in Santa Fe, one up on Hyde Park Rd at the ill-fated Santa Fe Jazz Festival, and the other, in July, 2004, at the restored Lensic Theater playing with Makoto and with Lee Berk (your recently retired “boss”) and his wife Susan in the audience and finally, four performances with your “new” quartet on The Jazz Cruise in 2013…a 48 year span! The world and I will deeply miss your live performances, but your recordings and DVDs are a lasting legacy to your astounding talent and inventiveness. And I recently read and greatly enjoyed “Learning To Listen,” which I highly recommend. My best wishes to you in your retirement. Thanks so much for the hundreds, probably thousands of hours I’ve spent listening to your glorious music. That will continue.

    Bob Thompson/Colorado Springs, CO


    March 19, 2017 (13:57) Reply

    So sorry, yet so happy to see you able to slow down and enjoy life more. What an inspiration you have been…and thanks for introducing me to jazz 60 years ago in Princeton. It has provided a lifetime of joy.

  48. wolfgang muthspiel

    March 22, 2017 (12:01) Reply

    Dear Gary, the two years in your Band were an important time in my musical life. Thanks for your generosity and for your inspiring level of musicianship! best wishes for the next phase, wolfgang muthspiel

  49. Shin Suzuki

    March 23, 2017 (09:55) Reply

    I was very surprised and little bit sad. I always asked you to write “Mallet Man” on CD label when I went to your concert in Japan. These are my treasures.
    Plesse come to Japan with Makoto.

  50. Arthur Lipner

    April 14, 2017 (17:50) Reply

    Dear Gary,
    Your contributions to the artform of vibraphone and the jazz world are surpassed only by your integrity as a musician and human being extraordinaire. People will be thanking you for giving all you could in performance and education for many years to come. I trust we will keep in touch. Wishing you good health and the very best life has to offer in the new chapters to follow,

  51. Cindy Sayler

    May 5, 2017 (17:27) Reply

    Thanks for all the magic. Enjoy your retirement!

  52. David Rau

    May 17, 2017 (21:41) Reply

    Dear Gary, I was fortunate to attend a date on your 1979 tour with Chick Corea at Ohio State University. An incredible evening. Your recordings including Passengers, Reunion, Quartet Live, Duet & Fluid Rustle are in regular rotation on my playlist. Thank you for the great music and for introducing some great musicians especially Pat Metheny. Have a healthy and happy retirement.

  53. Stephen Dick

    June 9, 2017 (17:00) Reply

    Gary, you & your music have been the most incredible influence on my musical inspiration and pure listening bliss ever since I landed at Berklee in 1975 & you auditioned me on drums for ensemble placement. You reached a level of creative passion & skill that is really exceptional & I know others will join me in considering you a true national treasure!

  54. Clark Silcox

    July 13, 2017 (19:42) Reply

    Gary: long ago and far away (early 1970s) while a student at the other Berkeley I first heard your music and never stopped listening. I saw you first perform live with Ralph Towner at the Cellar Door (now closed) in Washington, DC. It was Matchbox. A stunning show that was thoughtfully reviewed in the Washington Post. You introduced me to a teenage Julian Lage in Chicago and terrific music created in a mentoring environment. Enjoy your retirement.

  55. Jere

    August 8, 2017 (15:04) Reply

    Thank you so much for so many great years . I am a big fan of your early days with Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto . Your style is like no other . Thank you !!!

  56. Catarina New

    August 26, 2017 (00:47) Reply

    THANK YOU Mr.Burton for an amazing contribution you have given, not only to the Jazz scene, but also through the great work shops you have inspired new upcoming jazz musicians, including me! I wish you health and joy to your retirement! Bless you and your family!

  57. Erik D von Buchau

    September 20, 2017 (22:38) Reply

    Hey Gary
    Just watched a video of you and chick playing “Mirror Mirror”……chills down my spine my brother!!
    you always inspired me and countless others to strive for perfection and musical excellence!

    The very best to you always!!

  58. Willem postema

    October 13, 2017 (18:01) Reply

    Gary, please listen to Play Me Out by Glenn Hughes and tell me if you can’t see a Burton special round some of that. He’s a lovely guy I’m sending him your ’73 ‘seven songs’ album now.

    Willem Francis Selzer Postema

  59. Robin Blakeman

    November 6, 2017 (15:34) Reply

    It was great to see and speak with you again recently in “Bawston”, Gary, after several years. The previous occasion was at one of the IAJE Conferences. Thank you for being such an awe-inspiring and positive influence in my (musical) life, and for helping me to come Berklee, more than “fawty” years ago, in fulfillment of a ten-year ambition. I hope that you will enjoy this new, “music-free” chapter in your life, and find it very fulfilling and peaceful. Your autobiography is amazingly honest, interesting, insightful, revealing – and at times, funny!

    Very sincerely,
    Robin Blakeman,
    Brighton, UK §

  60. Hans Koller

    December 29, 2017 (07:25) Reply

    Thank you Gary for your lectures and inspirations.
    The way you play is a fantastic motivation.

    Hans Koller

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