Recently I’ve been hovering around the Gary Burton section of my album collection, which spans his whole career from the 1960s to today. This week finds us in 1974, the heyday of Gary’s collaboration with modern jazz composers like Steve Swallow, Carla Bley and Mike Gibbs.
Ring has the uncommon instrumentation of drums (Bob Moses), two guitars (Mick Goodrick and Pat Metheny) and two basses (Steve Swallow and Eberhard Weber). The music leans heavily toward the rock fusion style already made popular by groups like Mahavishnu Orchestra; all of the tunes are in odd time signatures, usually driven by effects-laden guitar ostinatos.
“Tunnel of Love” is the most hypnotic song on the record. It has no melody, only a through-composed accompaniment that deliberately obscures the time and harmony under the soloist.