Donald Vernon Burrows
8 August 1928
|Died||12 March 2020 (aged 91)|
|Education||Bondi Public School|
- Jazz musician
|Known for||Don Burrows Quartet|
- Member of the Order of the British Empire
- Order of Australia
- 2x National Living Treasure
- APRA AWARD
- Aria Hall of Fame
- Sir Bernard Heinze Award
- Australian Jazz Bell Hall of Fame
Donald Vernon Burrows AO MBE (8 August 1928 – 12 March 2020) was an Australian jazz and swing musician, a multi-instrumentalist who was best known for playing the clarinet but also played the saxophone and flute. For his contribution to the arts he had a supper club named for him at The Regent Hotel (now Four Seasons Hotel) in Sydney, Australia.
Burrows is best known for his work with the Don Burrows Quartet, comprising Burrows (multiple woodwind):, George Golla (guitar), Ed Gaston (double bass) and Alan Turnbull (drums). Burrows was the recipient of both an MBE and AO. He played with many world-renowned musicians, including Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, James Morrison, Tony Bennett, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Stéphane Grappelli and Cleo Laine.
1 Life and career
3 Social matters and interests
4 Partial discography
6 External links
Life and career
Burrows was born in Sydney and attended Bondi Public School where, in 1937, a visiting flute virtuoso and teacher, Victor McMahon, played and inspired him to take up the flute. Initially it was a B-flat flute, which he had to pay off at sixpence per week. He later played the same little flute in Carnegie Hall, and at the Newport Jazz Festival. By 1940 he was captain of the Metropolitan Schools Flute Band and studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
By 1942, Burrows took up clarinet and played on The Youth Show, a Macquarie Radio show. In 1944 he was invited to play and record with George Trevare's Australians. He became well known in Sydney jazz circles and was playing in dance halls, nightclubs and radio bands.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Burrows was the best-known jazz musician in Australia and had many engagements in Australia and the United States, including six years performing at the Wentworth Hotel in Sydney. In 1972, he was invited to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival and later the Newport Jazz Festival.
The year 1973 was a watershed one for Burrows as he received the first gold record for an Australian jazz musician for his record Just the Beginning, instigated the first jazz studies program in the southern hemisphere, at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music (under the direction of Rex Hobcroft) and was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). In 1979 he was appointed Chair of Jazz Studies at the conservatorium.
Burrows performed to mostly classical music audiences through tours with Musica Viva and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation concert series. He fronted the nationally televised show The Don Burrows Collection for six years. He had an extensive recording career in his own right with his groups and performed on many more albums with other artists.
In the 1980s, Burrows mentored and was closely associated with James Morrison early in his career.
In 2005, Burrows toured with a small band including the Australian jazz pianist Kevin Hunt. He used his photographic images with his music in a show called Stop, Look and Listen.
In his later years he had Alzeimer's and lived in a nursing home in northern Sydney. He was regularly visited by old friends, including James Morrison and his wife who is a nurse, as well as George Golla and Kevin Hunt. The Morrisons serve as Burrows' legal guardians.
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), 1973
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), 1987
Life member of the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, 1988
Inducted into the ARIA Music Awards Hall of Fame, 1991
Named one of the Australian Living Treasures, 1989, 1999
Sir Bernard Heinze Award, for his service to Australia, 2000
Honorary Doctorate in Music, Sydney University, 2000
Honorary Doctorate in Music, Edith Cowan University, Perth, 2001
Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music, Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Awards of 2004
Honorary Doctorate in Education, Central Queensland University, 2004
Inducted into the Australian Jazz Bell Awards Hall of Fame, 2007
Social matters and interests
Burrows lived in Paynesville on the Gippsland Lakes of Victoria.
He had a lifelong hobby of black-and-white photography, beginning in his 20s as an active participant in the Sans Souci and Caringbah camera clubs in Sydney. He sees the creativity of music and photography having significant similarities. He was also an avid fly fisherman.
Burrows had arthritis from age 38. In a 2008 interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Andrew Ford, celebrating his 80th birthday, he said that "arthritis is not the greatest for playing a musical instrument. But playing a musical instrument is very, very good for arthritis".
1966 The Jazz Sound of the Don Burrows Quartet, Columbia Records
1969 2000 Weeks (OST), EMI SCXO-7883
1971 Just the beginning
1972 Live at Montreux, Cherry Pie Records
1974 The Don Burrows Quartet at the Sydney Opera House, Cherry Pie
1975 The New Don Burrows Quintet
1975 Duo, Don Burrows & George Golla, Cherry Pie
1975 The Saxophone Artistry of Don Burrows, Columbia
1976 The Tasman Connection, Cherry Pie Records
1976 Someone who cares, Cherry Pie
1976 Cool Yule, Cherry Pie
1977 Steph 'n' Us, Stephane Grappelli/Don Burrows & George Golla Duo
1977 Don Burrows and the Brazilian Connection, Cherry Pie
1978 At The Sydney Opera House, Cherry Pie
1979 Other places other times, Don Burrows & George Golla Duo, Cherry Pie
1979 Bonfa Burrows Brazil, (with Luis Bonfa), Cherry Pie. Rereleased in 1988 by Cherry Pie on CD.
1979 Back in Town, Andrews/Brown/Burrows/Turnbull, 44 records
1980 Brazilian Parrot
1982 Jazz Brothers – A Retrospective, ABC Music
1982 Sara Dane: Music Inspired by the T.V. Series
1984 Burrows at the Winery, ABC
1985 Makin Whoopee, ABC
1985 Jazz at the Opera House
1986 Flute Salad, Don Burrows & Chris Hinze, ABC
1990 The Babinda Trilogy, Warner Bros. Records
1993 Don Burrows - The First 50 Years (collection of 73 tracks from 1944 to 1992 on 5 CDs) (PolyGram)
1994 Together at last, Julie Anthony & Don Burrows
1994 Strings of Swing, Ian Cooper
1999 Whenever, Morrison Records
2005 Non-stop Flight, Don Burrows & The Mell-O-Tones
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