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Dave Burrell

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Dave Burrell
Burrell in 2007
Burrell in 2007
Background information
Birth nameHerman Davis Burrell
Born (1940-09-10) September 10, 1940 (age 83)
Middletown, Ohio, U.S.
Years active1970s–present

Herman Davis "Dave" Burrell (born September 10, 1940)[1] is an American jazz pianist. He has played with many jazz musicians including Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Marion Brown and David Murray.


Born in Middletown, Ohio, United States,[1] Burrell grew fond of jazz at a young age after meeting Herb Jeffries.[2] Burrell studied music at the University of Hawaii from 1958 to 1960,[1] then, beginning in 1961, attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating with degrees in composition/arranging and performance in 1965.[3] While in Boston, he played with Tony Williams and Sam Rivers.[1]

In 1965, Burrell moved to New York City, where he worked and recorded with Grachan Moncur III, Marion Brown, and Pharoah Sanders.[2] He also started the Untraditional Jazz Improvisational Team with saxophonist Byard Lancaster, bassist Sirone, and drummer Bobby Kapp.[1] In 1968, Burrell co-founded The 360 Degree Music Experience with Grachan Moncur III and Beaver Harris[1] and recorded two albums with the group. The following year, Burrell began an association with Archie Shepp,[1] with whom he would play the 1969 Pan-African Festival in Algiers,[4] and with whom he would go on to record nearly twenty albums.

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.

In 2022, it was announced that Burrell had donated his archive to the Center for American Music in the University of Pittsburgh Library System.[5]


As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1965? High Douglas With Norris Sirone Jones (bass), Bobby Kapp and Sunny Murray (drums), Pharoah Sanders (tambourine)
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)
1973 Dreams Trio Records With Motoharu Yoshizawa (bass)
1973 Only Me Trio Records Solo piano
1976 Wildflowers 3: The New York Loft Jazz Sessions (reissued on Wildflowers: The New York Loft Jazz Sessions - Complete): one track Douglas / Casablanca With Stafford James (bass) and Harold White (drums)
1977? Black Spring Marge Solo piano
1977 Teardrops for Jimmy Denon Jazz Solo piano
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 With Takashi Mizuhashi (bass)
1981 Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 NoBusiness With Marion Brown (alto sax)
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)
2000 Recital CIMP With Tyrone Brown (bass)
2001 Live at Caramoor Sonoris Solo piano; in concert
2003 Expansion High Two Records With William Parker (bass), Andrew Cyrille (drums)
2003 Conception Somerealmusic With David Tamura (tenor saxophone) and Joe Chonto (drums)
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 NTCD with Daniel Huck
2010? Plays His Songs RAI Trade with Leena Conquest (vocals)
2013? Darlingtonia Jazzwerkstatt with Silke Eberhard
2014? Turning Point NoBusiness with Steve Swell
2018 1.11.18 Otoroku Solo piano

As sideman or co-leader[edit]

With Albert Ayler

With Marion Brown

  • Three for Shepp (Impulse!, 1966)
  • Juba-Lee (Fontana, 1967)
  • 79118 Live (DIW, 1979)
  • Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 (NoBusiness Records, 2018)
  • Capricorn Moon to Juba Lee Revisited (ezz-thetics, 2019)

With Stanley Cowell

  • Questions / Answers (Trio Records, 1974)

With Henry Grimes, Roberto Pettinato, and Tyshawn Sorey

  • Purity (Sony, 2012)
  • Same Egg (Sony, 2013)

With Duo Baars-Henneman

  • Trandans (Wig, 2017)

With Noah Howard

With Khan Jamal

  • Speak Easy (Gazell, 1989)

With Stafford James

  • Jazz a Confronto 26 (Horo Records, 1976)

With Giuseppi Logan

With Grachan Moncur III

  • New Africa (BYG Actuel, 1969)
  • Shadows (Denon, 1977)

With David Murray

With Sunny Murray

With Alessandro Nobile and Antonio Moncada

  • Reaction And Reflection (Rudi Records, 2018)

With William Parker

With Odeon Pope

With Roswell Rudd

With Pharoah Sanders

With Archie Shepp

With Sonny Sharrock

With Alan Silva

With Bob Stewart

  • Then & Now (Postcards, 1996)
  • The Crave (NoBusiness Records, 2016)

With Steve Swell

With Clifford Thornton

With Le Tigre des platanes

  • Disappearing (Mr Morezon, 2013)

With Patty Waters

  • College Tour (ESP-Disk, 1966)
  • The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings (ESP-Disk, 2006)

With Bobby Zankel

  • Celebrating William Parker @ 65 (Not Two, 2017)

With The 360 Degree Music Experience


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (1999). "Burrell, Dave (Herman Davis II)". The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 96.
  2. ^ a b Chris Kelsey. "Biography of Dave Burrell". AllMusic. Retrieved 2006-12-11.
  3. ^ "Dave Burrell Biography" (PDF). DaveBurrell.com. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  4. ^ Porter, Lewis (2001). "Burrell, Dave (Herman Davis, II)". In Kuhn, Laura (ed.). Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Vol. 1. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc. p. 513.
  5. ^ "We Have Acquired the Archive of Jazz Pianist Dave Burrell". University of Pittsburgh Library System. Retrieved 28 March 2022.

External links[edit]