Gary Burton, Learning To Listen (Berklee Press)
At the outset of his autobiography, as he turns 70 Burton makes it official again (the first time was in 1994): he’s gay. The vibraphonist then delivers an entertaining, informative and well-written account of his career, returning occasionally but not obsessively to his gayness. He is even-handed about the difficulties and rewards of working with Stan Getz, full of admiration for Duke Ellington, generous but clear-eyed in discussing colleagues including Chick Corea and Pat Metheny. An invaluable chapter discusses the conscious and unconscious processes of making improvised music. Burton’s superb new quartet CD Guided Tour, with guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio Sanchez, is a fine companion to the book.