Monday, 3 April 2017

Gary Burton Quintet - Dreams So Real: Music of Carla Bley (1976)

A definite Spring favourite this one, with a clean, fresh sound like a homemade lemonade.  The great four-malletted vibesman was accompanied for one of his most legendary recordings by drums, electric bass, and two guitarists, a lineup that really lets the strength of the composer's writing shine through.

Recorded in the same month as Pat Metheny's ageless debut album, Dreams So Real is from the dead-centre of ECM's purple patch when classic after classic were being seemingly effortlessly turned out, and needless to say is a gorgeous listen.  Burton is highlighted solo on the beautifully tender Jesus Maria, and the larger part of the rest of the album is in a mellow vein too.

One notable exception is the three-song medley of the second track, in which Metheny and Goodrick (the latter too often underrated, in the shadow of the former who'd become a superstar) bop along with a funky, rock-solid underpinning from Steve Swallow, who himself had the most direct connection to Carla Bley.  Bley herself of course would remain just ECM-adjacent until much more recently, so this flawless record would be key to highlighting her music on the main label.

Wrong Key Donkey
alt. link (zippy)


  1. A phenomenal album. Have always enjoyed this one. Nice pick Alan!

  2. Agreed, a fine album. I read a few days ago Gary recently retired from music. Glad he recorded a lot.

  3. Your description makes it impossible to pass this by. Thank you!