Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gary Burton

Jazz Musician: the undisputed king of vibes





















Gary Burton (b. Jan. 23, 1943) is an American jazz vibraphonist. After many years of marriage Burton came out as a gay man in 1985, making him one of only a few openly gay jazz musicians. He chose a public means to declare his homosexuality, by coming out during an interview on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" radio show with Terri Gross. That interview is frequently re-broadcast. Burton fathered two children from his marriage to Catherine Goldwyn, granddaughter of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn (of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer fame).

Burton is the undisputed master of the vibraphone, not just a vibes player, but THE vibes player whose rule spans from the 1960s to the present. Today he lives in South Florida, where he shares a newly built house with his partner, Jonathan Chong.

A true original on the vibraphone, Burton developed a pianistic style of four-mallet technique as an alternative to the usual two-mallet style. This approach caused Burton to be heralded as an innovator. His sound and technique are widely imitated. But have a look and listen. Here Gary Burton plays a vibes solo (performance dating from the 1960s): “Chega de Saudade” (No More Blues), composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes. Do your best to ignore the dated fringed jacket and concentrate on his mind-blowing four mallet technique.

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