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Matchbook (Ralph Towner & Gary Burton album)

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Studio album by
RecordedJuly 26 & 27, 1974
StudioStudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg, West Germany
ProducerManfred Eicher
Ralph Towner chronology
Gary Burton chronology
Dreams So Real

Matchbook is an album by guitarist Ralph Towner and vibraphonist Gary Burton recorded in 1974 and released on the ECM label.[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[2]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide4/5 stars[3]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings3/4 stars [4]

Scott Yanow, in a review for Allmusic, noted that the pairing of Towner and Burton was "a logical matchup, since both musicians are open to folk melodies and are generally quiet improvisers". However, he also stated: "More tempo and mood variation would have uplifted the otherwise fine music".[2]

In an article at Acoustic Guitar, Mark Kemp wrote: "In the early 1970s, ECM Records described its overall philosophy as 'the most beautiful sound next to silence.' This ECM collaboration... defined that philosophy. The nylon-string and vibes interplay... are the essence of chamber jazz: intimate, quiet, contemplative, and absolutely beautiful."[5]

Tyran Grillo, writing for ECM Reviews, commente: "A matchbook doesn't typically provide a surface for lasting statements. On its flap, one scrawls a phone number, an address, or any other piece of information as ephemeral as the flames for which it is mass-produced. Such is not the case with guitarist Ralph Towner and vibraphonist Gary Burton. Instead, we get indelible marks of grace and humility, each a brighter spark at the wick of our attention... The sound of this album is like no other and unfolds itself with the delicacy of a morning glory, yet with melodies as indestructible as the sunlight that sustains them. Its many colors are provided not only through finely wrought melodies, but also through a wealth of rhythmic variations throughout. If you like either of these artists apart, then you can’t go wrong with them together."[6]

Track listing

All compositions by Ralph Towner except as indicated
  1. "Drifting Petals" - 5:19
  2. "Some Other Time" (Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green) - 6:16
  3. "Brotherhood" (Gary Burton) - 1:12
  4. "Icarus" - 5:53
  5. "Song For a Friend" - 5:10
  6. "Matchbook" - 4:34
  7. "1 X 6" - 0:56
  8. "Aurora" - 5:11
  9. "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" (Charles Mingus) - 4:22
  • Recorded at Studio Bauer in Ludwigsburg, West Germany on July, 26, 27, 1974



  1. ^ ECM discography accessed September 6, 2011
  2. ^ a b Yanow, S. Allmusic Review accessed September 6, 2011
  3. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 34. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  4. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Kemp, Mark (June 21, 2016). "10 Essential Non-Classical Nylon-String Guitar Albums". Acoustic Guitar. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  6. ^ Grillo, Tyran (December 5, 2010). "Ralph Towner/Gary Burton: Matchbook (ECM 1056)". ECM Reviews. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
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Matchbook (Ralph Towner & Gary Burton album)
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