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George Burton

piano

Pianist, composer, and bandleader George Burton has been on the radar of everyone who follows innovations in jazz. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he grew up playing classical violin and viola while absorbing gospel and blues at home. In high school, he went on to play with Philly hard-bop legend Bootsie Barnes, while learning the subtleties of the genre from veteran pianists Sid Simmons and Shirley Scott. He had a long tenure as the pianist for Odean Pope’s saxophone choir, and from there he earned a place on the world stage performing with some of the most significant practitioners of post-bop and the avant-garde—from Eddie Henderson and James Carter to the Sun Ra Arkestra. He has performed to sold-out crowds at the Newport Jazz Festival, Dizzy’s at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Duc des Lombards in Paris, and a number of jazz festivals in Europe. Currently, Burton leads five ensembles: GB Quintet, GB Group, Brew Trio, Torn Trio, and Yule Log. Burton’s debut album, The Truth of What I Am > The Narcissist (2016), was “a fantastic statement of modern jazz” by Downbeat and voted #4 top debut album in the NPR jazz critics’ poll. His most recent recording is Rec·i·proc·i·ty (2020).