Dave Burrell

Dave Burrell (born September 10, 1940) is an American jazz pianist. He has played with many jazz musicians including Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Marion Brown and David Murray.

Dave Burrell
Burrell in 2007
Background information
Birth nameHerman Davis Burrell
Born (1940-09-10) September 10, 1940
Middletown, Ohio, U.S.
Years active1970s–present
Associated actsUntraditional Jazz Improvisational Team, The 360 Degree Music Experience


Born in Middletown, Ohio, Burrell grew fond of jazz at a young age after meeting Herb Jeffries.[1] Burrell studied music at the University of Hawaii before transferring to Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1961. He worked in Boston and then settled on the Lower East Side in New York City in 1965 after graduating with a degree in musical composition. He started the Untraditional Jazz Improvisational Team with saxophonist Byard Lancaster, Sirone, and Bobby Kapp.

In 1965 he joined the groups of saxophonists Pharoah Sanders (Tauhid), Marion Brown (Juba-Lee), and Archie Shepp (Three for Shepp), resulting in numerous recordings, among them For Losers, Kwanza, Live at the Pan-African Festival, Yasmina, Blase, Black Gypsy, Things Have Got to Change, Attica Blues, The Cry of My People, There Is a Trumpet in My Soul, Montreux One, and Montreux Two. In 1968, Burrell co-founded The 360 Degree Music Experience with Grachan Moncur and Beaver Harris. They released From Ragtime to No Time in 1975, and In: Sanity in 1977.

Burrell's first album as a leader was High Won-High Two (1968), produced by Alan Douglas. Echo and La Vie de Bohème were recorded for BYG Actuel in Paris in 1969. He recorded Round Midnight for Nippon Columbia.

In 1978 he composed a jazz opera entitled Windward Passages, in collaboration with Swedish poet and lyricist Monika Larsson, with an album of the same name, based on the opera, released in 1979 on Hathut in Switzerland. Their touring and recording collaborations resulted in Daybreak (1989), Brother to Brother (Gazell, 1992), In Concert (Victo, 1992), and Windward Passages (Black Saint, 1993). Burrell appears on Murray's DIW albums Lovers, Deep River, Ballads, Spirituals, Tenors, Remembrances, and Picasso, recorded between 1988 and 1993.

Burrell tours and performs as a soloist and as a leader of a duo, trio, and larger ensembles. He recorded for the High Two label from Philadelphia. His 2004 album Expansion (with bassist William Parker and drummer Andrew Cyrille) was acclaimed by NPR, Down Beat, Village Voice, JazzTimes, The Wire, and others. Splasc Records in Italy released a studio solo piano recording, Margy Pargy in 2005. In 2006, Burrell released Consequences (Amulet), a live duet set with drummer Billy Martin, and Momentum (High Two), featuring bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Guillermo E. Brown. RAI Trade, Italy, did a live recording of Burrell's and Larsson's collaborations, Dave Burrell Plays His Songs, featuring singer Leena Conquest, that was released in 2010.


As leader

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1965? High Douglas
1968 High Won-High Two Black Lion With Norris Sirone Jones (bass), Bobby Kapp and Sunny Murray (drums), Pharoah Sanders (tambourine)
1969? La Vie de Bohème BYG Actuel With Eleanor Burrell (vocals), Ric Colbeck (piano, trumpet, harp), Claude Delcloo (chimes, drums, tympani), Beb Guérin (bass), Grachan Moncur III (trombone, chimes), Kenneth Terroade (flute, tenor sax)
1969 Echo BYG Actuel With Arthur Jones (alto sax), Grachan Moncur III (trombone), Sunny Murray (bass, drums), Archie Shepp (tenor sax), Alan Silva (bass), Clifford Thornton (cornet)
1970 After Love America With Bertrand Gauthier (drums), Michel Gladieux (double bass), Ron Miller (mandolin, double bass), Roscoe Mitchell (reeds), Don Moye (drums), Alan Silva (violin, cello, electric cello)
1976 In: Sanity Black Saint As The 360 Degree Music Experience; with Beaver Harris (drums), Keith Marks (flute), Azar Lawrence (tenor sax), Hamiet Bluiett (baritone sax, alto clarinet, flute), Cecil McBee (bass), Sunil Garg (sitar), Titos Sompa (conga); Steel Ensemble added on one track
1977? Black Spring Marge
1978? Dave Burrell Plays Ellington & Monk Denon With Takashi Mizuhashi (bass)
1978? Lush Life Denon With Takashi Mizuhashi (bass)
1979 Windward Passages Hathut Solo piano; in concert
1979? Round Midnight Nippon Columbia
1989 Daybreak Gazell With David Murray (bass clarinet, tenor sax)
1990 The Jelly Roll Joys Gazell Solo piano
1991 In Concert Victo Duo, with David Murray (tenor sax); in concert
1993 Windward Passages (Black Saint) Black Saint With David Murray (bass clarinet, tenor sax); Monika Larsson (vocals) added on one track
1993 Brother to Brother Gazell With David Murray (bass clarinet, tenor sax)
1993? Changes & Changes CIMP
Live at Caramoor Sonoris Solo piano; in concert
2000 Recital CIMP With Tyrone Brown (bass)
2005? Margy Pargy Splasc(H) Solo piano
2005 Consequences Amulet Duo, with Billy Martin (percussion); in concert
2005 Momentum High Two Trio, with Michael Formanek (bass), Guillermo E. Brown (drums)
2008? Esquisse for a Walk with Daniel Huck
2010? Plays His Songs RAI Trade with Leena Conquest (vocals)
2013? Darlingtonia Jazzwerkstatt with Silke Eberhard
2014? Turning Point NoBusiness

As sideman

With Marion Brown

With David Murray

With William Parker

With Odeon Pope Saxophone Choir

With Archie Shepp

With Sonny Sharrock

With Clifford Thornton

  • Ketchaoua (BYG Actuel, 1967)


  1. Chris Kelsey. "Biography of Dave Burrell". Retrieved 2006-12-11.
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