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Grammy Award winners celebrate 35 years of performing together

Grammy Award winners Gary Burton and Chick Corea take the stage of the Williams Center for the Arts on Tuesday, March 11, at 8 p.m. as the last concert in the Jazz Masters series.

A limited number of stand-by tickets will be sold the night of the performance, beginning at 7 p.m., for possible cancellations. At noon on March 11, Burton will give a presentation on jazz improvisation. This will be on the main stage of the Williams Center. At 7 p.m., internationally acclaimed jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller will give a talk about the Chick Corea-Gary Burton duo history.

This summer Corea and Burton traveled the world on their 35th Anniversary Crystal Silence Tour. The tour marks the 35th anniversary of Corea and Burton first playing together, an event that led to the release of Crystal Silence in November 1972.

Corea is one of the most prolific composers of the second half of the 20th century. He has served as an influential force in the development of jazz while touching numerous other musical bases, including children’s songs and classical music. Born in 1941, he began studying piano at the age of four. His first major professional gig was with Cab Calloway. In the 1960s, Corea performed and recorded with Stan Getz, Donald Byrd, and Dizzy Gillespie.

After accompanying Sarah Vaughan, Corea went on to replace Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’ band. He played for a number of important and groundbreaking recordings, including Bitches Brew, a work which marked jazz’s progression into fusion. In 1972, Corea was back in the studio with his group Return To Forever to record the classic Light As A Feather, a collection of melodic Brazilian-flavored jazz tunes including a new version of “500 Miles High” and Corea’s best-known composition, “Spain.”

By 1992, Corea had realized a lifelong goal in forming Stretch Records, a label committed to stretching musical boundaries and focusing more on freshness and creativity than on musical style.

Corea has continued to be prolific in writing and recording, having performed on over 100 albums. He has earned 14 Grammy Awards for solo performance, group performance, and arranging.

Born in 1943, Burton taught himself to play the vibraphone. He made his recording debut in Nashville at the age of 17 with guitarists Hank Garland and Chet Atkins. After studying for two years at Berklee College of Music, he became a member of Stan Getz’s quartet, with whom he worked from 1964-1966. The Burton Quartet was then formed and began to explore modern compositions. His 1971 album Alone at Last, a solo vibraphone concert recorded at Montreux Jazz Festival, received a Grammy Award. After turning to the duo format, Burton created a personal and professional relationship with Corea which has led to an additional four Grammy Awards.

Burton began his career with Berklee in the 1971 by teaching percussion. In 1985, he was named dean of curriculum. He received an honorary doctorate of music from the college in 1989 and, in 1996, he was appointed executive vice president.

This performance is supported by an ArtsCONNECT grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. ArtsCONNECT is made possible through major funding from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Performing Arts Touring Program with support from Capezio/Ballet Makers Dance Foundation and Dominion Foundation.

The 2007-2008 Performance Series at Lafayette College is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by provisions of the Josephine Chidsey Williams Endowment, J. Mahlon and Grace Buck Fund, the Croasdale Fund, the Class of ’73 Fund, the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour; the F.M. Kirby Foundation, the Dexter and Dorothy Baker Foundation, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

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