Abraham Burton

Abraham Burton headshot

Jazz Saxophone Faculty

Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz

The Hartt School
860.768.5791 Abraham Burton Jazz

BM, The Hartt School, University of Hartford

Abraham Burton grew up in the lively streets of Greenwich Village along with childhood friends Eric McPherson and Nasheet Waits.  Abraham’s inevitable gravitation towards  Music was ignited during a time when jazz clubs, then swarmed with Patrons, frequently featured jazz giants like Art Blakey, Max Roach, Richard Davis, McCoy Tyner, Barry Harris, Freddie Waits, Sonny Rollins and Elvin Jones.  Determined to explore the jazz idiom Burton attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Music & Performing Arts, under the tutelage of master music instructor Justin Dicioccio.  In 1989, Burton was chosen by Dicioccio to be the alto man in an all star quintet that was awarded best jazz combo by Downbeat Magazine.  In addition, Burton received an award for outstanding soloist. In the same year Burton entered and won the McDonalds Jazz Combo Competition in trio fashion with Eric McPherson.

Abraham pursued further development in an apprenticeship under the watchful eye of the legendary jazz great, Jackie McLean at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School, where Abraham received his Bachelor in Music and performance, graduating with honors.  It was here, through intense studies with McLean, that Abraham discovered the importance of jazz history.  “McLean instructed me to study the lineage…” perhaps knowingly preparing Abraham for the next chapter in his musical endeavors.

Abraham's professional career as a musician was initiated with the renowned drummer Arthur Taylor. During his five years with "Taylor's Wailers" Burton claims “I learned so much about music with A.T. He taught melody and the importance of space, phrasing and swinging …listening and playing together, group sound you know…”   Burton recorded on "Mr. A.T." and "Live at the Village Vanguard" on Enja Records, began touring throughout Europe and performing at notable New York clubs such as: The Village Vanguard, The Blue Note, Sweet Basil, Condons and Birdland.

He went on to form his own band in '94 entitled "The Abraham Burton Quartet" which recorded "Closest to the Sun", "The Magician" and “Cause and Effect” the latter being a collaboration with drummer extraordinaire  Eric McPherson, on the Enja Records label.  The group's talent received worldwide acclaim, paving the way for frequent engagements over seas touring and giving performances in countries such as Austria, Portugal, Norway, Israel, France, Italy, Malaysia, Germany, Greece, Spain, Slovenia, Holland, Japan, England, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Virgin Islands. The group has also been showcased at venues such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, The Moors Jazz Festival, The JVC jazz Festival, the Panasonic Jazz Festival, and Pori Jazz Festival.

Abraham attributes much of his success from experiences acquired performing, touring and recording with masters and being affiliated with numerous and notable musicians such as Roy Haynes, Louis Hayes, Walter Bishop Jr., Horace Tapscott, Kenny Barron, Jimmy Smith, John Hicks, Santi Debriano, Bill Saxton, Gary Bartz, Victor Lewis, Michael Carvin, Mulgrew Miller, Steve Nelson, Cindy Blackman, Ray Drummond, Terumasa Hino, Billy Hart, Peter Washington, Conrad Herwig, Steve Davis, Grisella Oliphant, Rein De Graff, Nasheet Waits, Eric McPherson, Eddie Henderson, David Murray, Antoine Roney, James Carter, Yosuke Inoue, James Hurt, Marc Cary, Sam Newsome, Duane Eubanks, Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Wallace Roney, Donald Edwards, Mark Whitfield, Cyrus Chestnut, Christian McBride.

Since 1998 to present, Burton has been a part of the Mingus family.  He has recorded and toured throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States playing in all three bands (Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty and the Mingus Orchestra) along side some of the greatest musicians of our time.

In more recent years, Burton has reunited with his childhood crew Nasheet Waits and Eric McPherson, forming a unique trio entitled “Ethereal Base”.  This experience features the highly sensitive and rhythmically hypnotic exchanges between Waits and McPherson while the boundless sound of Burton's saxophone weaves about dancing vibrantly and intimately. Truly a must see extravaganza. Burton is still very active touring and recording with the Abraham Burton Eric McPherson quartet, a fiercely dynamic group featuring David Bryant, a young adventurous pianist with an enormous sense of maturity and Dezron Douglas, one of the most musical and sought out bassists today.  Throughout the years, Abraham Burton has developed a reputation as a seasoned musician as well as an explosive soloist.  Combined with an unmistakable sound and style that is compelling, his music simply demands the attention of the listener.