To see George Burton perform live is to understand the historic link between the jazz musician and the roving gambler (which merged to become the brilliant progenitor of the jazz piano, Jelly Roll Morton); Burton handles the piano with the insouciance of a seasoned card shark, tossing away his virtuosity in seemingly reckless moves that always result in a winning hand. Like Morton, his wandering is based on being a
prodigious composer as well as a classically trained virtuoso instrumentalist and a master of dissonance. All of which could make the observer wonder if the fugitive magic of his live shows could be captured in a recording.
His debut album, The Truth of What I Am > The Narcissist (2016), answered: yes. Featuring ten original compositions that were snapshots of jazz in motion, the album was acclaimed as "precarious, dynamic, revolutionary" (NextBop) and brought Burton's ensemble to The Newport Jazz Festival, Dizzy's at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center and the legendary Duc du Lombards club in Paris.
Everyone knows that there's no tougher act to follow than oneself. But with his second album, Reciprocity (2020), George Burton has more than proven his talent, creating a modernist landscape that draws on the trajectory of jazz going back to the blues - and establishes him as an oracular presence in a new generation of musicians.