Charlie Burrell knows jazz and a thing or two

IMG_3404

Charles Burrell, Jr. left, Charlie Burrell on right. Photo taken at First Friday Jazz brunch, January, 2015. (Purnell Steen can be seen heading toward the piano for the brunch concert)

You’d think he’d write exclusively about playing the stand up bass or, jazz or, Denver Symphony Orchestra or, Five Points in the 1930-40’s.  He does. Yet Charlie gives that and more to his readers. What you won’t read is the typical WWII musician’s escapades on drugs, jail, or complaints about the situation.  Don’t be fooled though, he was not an unobservant slouch. This musician took it all in, like, it was better to avoid small town America if you’re a black man. He knew, if he were stopped, it was likely he would miss his gig. It wasn’t easy for a black man to get out of jail in those days for just driving through rural America or, East Denver for that matter. Despite a less than perfect childhood, Charlie Burrell went on to share the stage with Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Bassie, Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton.

His book, The Life of Charlie Burrell, Breaking the Color Barrier in Classical Music, is testimony to a fine man and true artist. The book proves without a doubt that Charlie Burrell is a gentleman, a hero, a kind educated man, a talented musician, the no-bull-shit-don’t-you-mess-with-me-or-my-friends-you m-f, kind-of-guy.  Born into the ghettos of Detroit, Charlie Burrell, in my opinion, is in every sense of the word – a hero and a legend.

Burrell had the passion and where-with-all to learn everything he could learn about classical music & instruments, rifts, rhythms, tone, style & music etiquette while dragging a huge-ass instrument all over the world. His set-backs and struggles, he made them interesting. Still, he overcame more than you or I could imagine. Once you read the book, you will wonder as I did. ‘Would I have done what Charlie did for his art?’

At 12 yrs old, Charlie took the only instrument that was offered to him in his school, the huge stand up bass. It became the love his life, his lone mistress, his joy and his road to a well-respected career at the Denver Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and jazz joints around the world.

There’s genuine depth and intellect woven through the book and, there’s much to know about Charlie Burrell, inside & outside.  Not only about his music, memories and anecdotes but about perseverance and pride in giving of oneself.  His niece, Grammy Award winner Dianne Reeves and nephew Purnell Steen (jazz pianist) have much to say about Uncle Charlie. He recognized their talent and encouraged them with the love and knowledge of music and his well-honed skills in ‘becoming a person.’ You have to read the book to understand how this phrase was important in the making of Charlie Burrell.

Charlie Burrell received a Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award in Denver last week. I can not think of a more deserving person.

Rock on, Charlie Burrell.

The Life of Charlie Burrell, Breaking the Color Barrier in Classical Music, by Charlie Burrell and Mitch Handelsan, Foreward by Dianne Reeves. #CharlieBurrell

ISBN: 1502896451

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Navy Blue Heaven

A Little Slice Of Cowboys Heaven

The Cool Muse / La Musa Molona

"The Cool Muse: Proudly tormenting friends and family with paintings of doubtful quality since MMII" "

Jazz in a Minute

Discover trending and amazing Funky Jazzy artists. Definitely not another mainstream music blog.

Splatter Craze

Get crazy about being creative!

Dear Denver

I've been thinking so much about you...

Peter ILLIG's Blog

Art-making in Denver

A Stairway To Fashion

contact: ralucastoica23@gmail.com

The Neighborhood

Society online's creative conscious.

Artwork of Jenna Koenning

Inspired by the natural sciences, I use landscape painting as a means to express issues of personal importance.

Tales Of Endearment

STORIES ABOUT LOVE, FRIENDS, VINTAGE, MUSIC AND LIFE.

Nothing Gilded, Nothing Gained-Period Drama on Paper at Middlemay Farm

Fiction Books, History, Memoir by Adrienne Morris

artthatmeansbusiness

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

you can observe a lot just by watching

thoughts and insights into the worlds of television and film

Stephanie Raffelock

A good story can transform the way that you see the world.

Vernacularisms

Notes from Belfast

%d bloggers like this: