Music is My Life: Episode 005

Gary Burton on Retirement, Stan Getz, Chick Corea, and the Animosity of Miles Davis

Jazz legend Gary Burton discusses his life in music, just as he is about to walk away from it. But what a full musical life it has been: 66 albums under his name, 7 Grammy awards, and many meaningful friendships. He discusses all of this as well as some rough times playing with Stan Getz, receiving a death threat from Miles Davis, and his career-long affiliation with Berklee College of Music. His farewell tour—featuring Makoto Ozone—begins in March.

Shortly after this 2017 interview, Burton retired from teaching Jazz Improvisation with Berklee Online. Not only did he author this successful course, but he was instrumental in the creation of Berklee Online itself when he was executive vice president of Berklee College of Music. In his 2013 memoir, Learning to Listen, he speaks of Berklee Online with great pride.

“After seeing the great success of the online program I started, I couldn’t resist getting in on the action,” he writes about authoring and teaching his course.


In the Music is My Life podcast, he also speaks about his involvement in the film, Get Yourself a College Girl, an amazing pop culture snapshot! You might want to check it out below before downloading the podcast!