In Don Burrows was part of an Australian fly-fishing team competing in Cuba. The members were in their hotel bar when a local band began to play, and, Burrows — being Burrows — had a flute on him, and joined in. The amazed musicians asked through an interpreter how he knew the songs. The Cubans were keen to play more, but the competition took Burrows away for the next week. Don Burrows with just one of the many instruments he played, Credit: Dallas Kilponen. Every band wants to play two tunes with you. Burrows was both exhilarated and exhausted by the end. And it led to that unforgettable night. That story encapsulates much about Burrows, who has died at the age of the eagerness to engage, share and communicate through music, and the easy warmth with which this was done.
The Sydney Morning Herald
He's a household name in Australia, renowned for his musicianship and his enthusiastic support for the jazz arts. He's also highly respected internationally, where he's toured numerous times to great acclaim annually since This superb multi-instrumentalist plays flute, clarinet and all the saxophones, from alto to baritone. He's a composer and arrange of great note, and one of the world's finest interpreters of the jazz tradition. A Don Burrows concert is a journey from classic swing and the gentle sway of Brazilian bossa nova to exciting modern jazz. Now in his 74th year, Don Burrows has not even begun to think about slowing down. He continues to tour Australia and the world regularly. His passion for jazz has seen him embark on several countrywide educational tours in recent years, taking his music and experience to schools in isolated corners of Australia, from Broome to Tasmania. His Creative Arts Fellowship, under the auspices of which he tours schools, follows two earlier honours - an Order of Australia and an MBE - in recognition of his generous and unstinting work in promoting jazz.
The Australian jazz icon Don Burrows has died aged Burrows was responsible for taking Australian jazz to the world stage, as well as bringing it into homes across the country through his countless TV appearances and recordings. On 12 March, an era of Australian music ended after the multi-instrumentalist died peacefully in his hometown of Sydney. Whether touring the world, hosting television shows or helping establish the very first jazz course in Australia at the fabled Sydney Conservatorium, Burrows helped popularise Australian improvised music and brought it into the public consciousness. The reedsman could also lay claim to a number of firsts in Aussie jazz: he was the first local jazz artist to win a gold record for his album Just The Beginning , the first Australian act to perform at both the Newport Jazz Festival in the US and the European Montreux Jazz Festival, and the first local jazz player to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Burrows grew up by the beach in Sydney's eastern suburbs, first picking up the flute in By the time the '40s rolled around, the young flute player had also picked up the clarinet — and was making the most of a shortage of older musicians, many of whom had been shipped off to World War II. Along with studies at the Sydney Conservatorium, Burrows could be found performing stints on the radio and busking in music stores, before going on to feature in various local swing and dance bands. The war also meant that many American troops were being rotated in-and-out of Australia: often, they would take the opportunity to perform locally, and Don would be there to see them play and also grab any loose V-Discs — or Victory discs — that were given out to U.
Burrows was born in Boorowa, New South Wales, into a musical family. His father, Bill Burrows, was a baker and played the piano and trumpet while his mother, Ivy, sang and played the piano. Bill Burrows was also a member of the town band under conductor Albert Bryce, the father of noted Australian composer Eric Bryce.