Roy Burrows

b. 18 February 1926, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 2 December 1998, London, England. As a child Burrowes was given a trumpet by his sea-going father and began learning to play the instrument. As…
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Artist Biography

b. 18 February 1926, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, d. 2 December 1998, London, England. As a child Burrowes was given a trumpet by his sea-going father and began learning to play the instrument. As the unofficial mascot of a West Indian army regiment, he was encouraged to develop his musical abilities and took lessons from a military bandsman. He formed his own bands, playing in and around his home town but in the late 40s went to New York City, USA where he quickly established himself on the local music scene. Among the musicians with whom he played during this stage of his career and who also helped his advance was Sonny Rollins. In 1962, Burrowes began a one-year spell with Duke Ellington, thereafter working with numerous bands including those led by Ray Charles, Sun Ra and Archie Shepp. In the 80s and 90s he was often in Europe, working in Paris with Mal Waldron and Clifford Jordan and he also appeared to very good effect on Abbey Lincoln’s 1980 Paris recording, Painted Lady. He was also often in London where he was resident throughout most of the last decade of his life. It was during this period that he became co-founder with his wife of International Jazz Day. In addition to his powerful bop-influenced trumpet playing, Burrowes was also a skilled arranger and an accomplished composer. In the latter capacity, he wrote Down In Brazil, recorded by Shepp and by Cedar Walton, and a suite, West Indian African American.