Gary Burton – Lofty Fake Anagram (Now With Title Explanation)

More Gary Burton

More Jazz Fusion

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  • Lofty Fake Anagram returns in “Living Stereo” with excellent Double Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • The RCA Stereo sound (not Living Stereo, but not that far from those halcyon days) is huge, spacious, lively, transparent and punchy – this is jazz fusion that is more jazz than fusion
  • 4 1/2 stars: “. . . it is the interplay between Burton and the rockish Coryell in this early fusion group (predating Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew by two years) that makes this session most notable.”

The Title According to The Man Himself

Typical of the weirdo ’60’s, there isn’t any anagram in the title. It came from a longer statement conjured up by Paul Haines, a writer acquaintance at the time. He had created a computer program to see if he could come up with a sentence that could not be turned into an anagram.

The result—”Your rappaplat bugle calls”—was what Paul referred to as his “lofty fakeanagram.” According to Paul, the computer couldn’t turn that odd sentence into another series of words. For some reason, “lofty fake anagram” had a ring to it that I was looking for in a title—something tat was both ambiguous and provocative.

That is also the last time I titled a record or a song with something that required an explanation. People kept asking what it meant, and I got tired of having to offer my pretty obtuse explanation.

Stereo, Not Living Stereo

This vintage RCA Victor pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for —this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the Best Sides of Lofty Fake Anagram Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1967
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.

What We’re Listening For on Lofty Fake Anagram

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

The Players

  • Gary Burton — vibraphone
  • Larry Coryell — guitar
  • Steve Swallow — bass
  • Bob Moses — drums

TRACK LISTING

Side One

June The 15, 1967
Feelings And Things
Fleurette Africaine
I’m Your Pal
Lines

Side Two

The Beach
Mother Of The Dead Man
Good Citizen Swallow
General Mojo Cuts Up

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

The second recording of guitarist Larry Coryell as part of the Gary Burton Quartet (which included the vibraphonist/leader, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bobby Moses) is more memorable for the sound of the group than for any of the eight originals by Burton, Swallow, Carla Bley or Michael Gibbs. In fact, the closest piece to a “standard,” Duke Ellington’s then-recent “Fleurette Africaine,” has the catchiest melody. But it is the interplay between Burton and the rockish Coryell in this early fusion group (predating Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew by two years) that makes this session most notable.

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