If you have gathered anything from this website beyond the obvious, you have likely also gathered that I really love what I do. Like most professional musicians, I am fortunate to have found that my talent matched my passion early in life. Then, the course of my life has allowed me to develop and build a fulfilling career on many levels within the music industry. Never give up. When someone tells you what they think you can’t do positively with your life, just do it anyway. Cb
MUSINGS IN Cb: “A Very Musical 2014 For Chris Burnett …”
This year looks to be a very musical one for me as an artist.
2014 marks a major milestone in my life as my musical artistry is now able to coexist in balance within the parameters and contexts of my life in general at this stage.
As with most any middle-aged-grown-ass-man, the total competence and diversity that comes from having life balance is most essential to any form of artistic progress.
And, this state of being has been a relatively long time in coming.
INTRODUCTION AND GREETINGS
To everything there is a season. So, let me reintroduce myself artistically to those who know me as a musician and introduce myself artistically to those on the scene who may only know me via business - I still love and do my work with the American Jazz Museum and the ARC recording label, respectively and in context.
I have assembled a brand new version of Chris Burnett Quartet - just having commitment from the last of the artists yesterday evening. We will primarily perform my compositions, record them and perform concerts.
Having a “set group” is important to me as a composer and artist exploring my own improvisatory language concepts. I come from an era of “groups” being the model I saw presented in jazz (Miles, Coltrane, Andrew Hill, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Cannonball, etc) - meaning artistic relationships are developed over a period of time and contribute to the core of the project.
In addition to Chris Burnett Quartet, I am writing music for a chordless trio project featuring Elliot Kuykendall on bass and Julian Goff on drums; and, a guitar quartet featuring Will Matthews. I have a quartet comprised of the youngest generation professional jazz artists (Alyssa Murry on piano, Seth Lee on bass and Julian Goff on drums) too. So, I work with other artists in context and so do the musicians I will be working with in my primary ensemble. But, here are the gentlemen I hope to record and perform lots of creative music with in the coming years …
Chris Burnett Quartet (2014)
Roger Wilder, piano - I met Roger at the Grand Emporium in Kansas City during a break at the “Battle of the Saxes" fundraiser for the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors organization. I had never met or heard him before, but I really liked how sensitive, supportive and inherently creative he was to each situation.
Roger was part of a rhythm section that included Gerald Spaits on bass and Tommy Ruskin on drums. The battling saxes were all virtuosi: Dr. Todd Wilkinson, Gerald Dunn, Prof. Hal Melia and Prof. Bobby Watson. I introduced myself to Roger at their first break, gave him my card and asked if he would be interested in performing in my quartet. He said, “cool”. Roger has been my pianist of choice since that day in 2001.
Not only does this cat play in a supporting role with most all of the top artist in this region and many from beyond our locale, his own quintet is likely one of the premier groups working in jazz today as well. Check out Roger’s debut (available at iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, etc).
Jeff Harshbarger, bass - I first heard Jeff performing with the progressive saxophonist/conceptualist, Mark Southerland and was moved by his artistic creativity. Then, I heard him with Bobby Watson, performing hard-bop in the Blue Room and was moved by his artistic creativity. Jeff is in demand, a scene builder, an entrepreneur, etc.
Finally, I had the opportunity to perform with him in various contexts and was certain that Jeff was the bassist of choice for my original work and recordings. He brings a lot to any ensemble and what I like about Jeff’s musicianship in an ensemble that presents through-composed material that includes improvisation as well, is his sympatico with what is happening musically in the moment.
Clarence Smith, drums - I first met Clarence when he was still head of the vaunted jazz program at the Paseo Academy of Arts in Kansas City. I had written an arrangement of an original composition by one of the city’s legends and his band performed it.
We first performed together as members of the youth jazz faculty. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to perform with Clarence in my own groups did I get a true picture of his range as a percussionist.
Clarence is an artist, educator and scene builder. His experience in the field adds tremendously to his unique artistry. Without a doubt, he is one of the finest percussionists working today.
A DIFFERENT STORYLINE
My history to date in this regard includes: devoting the first 22 years of my professional life to a very active live performance career with military bands (an average of 250 performances each year); then, upon returning home at 45 years old, being very active on the Kansas City live music scene - centered around a regular hit at the Drum Room when it first reopened; and, attending sessions regularly at the Foundation, Blue Room or most anywhere else I could to introduce myself artistically.
A 2007 feature by Jazz Ambassador Magazine and feature in Kansas City Star’s “Jazz Town” column by Joe Klopus objectively validated my efforts to contribute positively to the scene at large and outside of military service bands.
I have paid some dues here in KC and continue to pay dues to this day …
Maintaining one’s balance and keeping things in context are important.
COMPOSER AND RECORDING ARTIST
As an artist who is also a composer, it is important to record. It just turned out that I came back home having already recorded and released my debut commercially. This was done independently and before stores like iTunes existed.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND PLATFORM
I have been attempting to put together projects to record the music I have continued to write over these subsequent 13 years.
At the same time the recording industry rapidly changed during the last years of the 20th Century and the first years of the 21st Century, the Internet became significant to business infrastructure and label platform models.
Therefore, much of my time and energies during this period have been devoted to building relevant new music business systems, supporting my family and contributing to the music scene at large - all are things I enjoy and believe to be as essential to my artistry as playing gigs every night.
Thanks, and welcome to these further musical adventures !
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Chris Burnett is an official Selmer (Paris) Saxophone Artist; Marketing and Communications Manager at American Jazz Museum; Professional Jazz Recording Artist; Composer; Educator; Entrepreneur; and, Businessman based in his native Kansas City metropolitan area. See - http://BurnettPublishing.com
MUSINGS IN Cb: “It’s Solo and Ensemble Time Again”
Every year, since I began teaching woodwinds privately, January seems to be the time of year when most school instrumental music students begin thinking about preparing music to perform at solo and ensemble festivals.
That’s cool and beginning work in January usually affords the minimum 12-week period I like most students to have to properly prepare a solo at this level of experience.
PUTTING IN THE PRACTICE TIME IS VITAL TO SUCCESS
Too many of the students I have taught over the years, generally do not dedicate enough time each week to learning their instruments beyond what is required of them during school band class.
However, school band class is a “survey course” and we all know that you do not become a master of any subject by taking a “survey course” because that is not the purpose of a “survey course”: a course treating briefly the chief topics of a broad field of knowledge (Merriam-Webster definition).
A “survey course” is inherently designed to expose you to material or a subject, in hopes of perhaps motivating interest in further study toward mastery. At least, that is what I have reasoned to be the case to date.
To perform a musical instrument at an artistic level requires that the school band student (whatever the level of musical ability and experience) understands this paradigm. The most successful students come to know that true mastery will always require engaging in additional hours of individual study beyond the school band classroom course curriculum.
And, then a conscious decision must be made in advance to devote the personal practice time toward mastery of the practical factors involved with achieving the applied performance skill set.
DEVELOPMENT IS AN ACCUMULATIVE PROCESS AT BEST
If a student can’t play fluently in all of the common keys, is not rotating out reeds for their classical and jazz mouthpiece set-ups respectively, or is still having pitch problems within the normally written range of the instrument; then, the student is not likely practicing the 2-3 hours a day that it takes to build the physical endurance and applied technical skills needed to perform any woodwind instrument at an artistic level.
There is plenty of high quality and artistic literature that takes into account the various inherent levels of artistry as it develops in each of us as individual musicians. Such graded lists are thoughtfully compiled as a service of convenience and based upon proven experiences.
For any high school-aged alto saxophone student to artistically perform Claude T. Smith's work, "FANTASIA FOR ALTO SAXOPHONE", the above type course of study is the only way to pull it off successfully.
The piece was written for Dale Underwood (listen), who was saxophone soloist for the US Navy Band in Washington DC for 30+ years. The artistry with which Mr. Underwood performs the piece should be noted in the context of his control, tone quality, endurance, and technical facility. His reed works perfectly for the piece and his horn works properly. He has spent years mastering the intonation of the altissimo register of the alto saxophone and plays those notes in tune.
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY COUNTS IN GYMNASTICS NOT MUSIC
I think it is so cool to work with young musical artists. It is like giving back and sharing my experiences on this journey as a lifelong teaching artist and composer.
I also think it is so cool when young musical artists want to challenge themselves with such masterworks as the Smith piece. However, to choose music over one’s head, just to primarily say you programmed something difficult, is not good either.
Adjudicators do not give higher ratings because you choose a difficult piece of music. They don’t give consolation points just because the piece you choose is difficult. The purpose is to demonstrate what you have mastered and prepared. That is done in lessons and personal practice time, not during a performance.
Standards are the way to develop and improve. I align my syllabi to various ability levels and actually teach parallel to those standards adopted by the Kansas Music Educators Association in 2005.
KEEPING MUSIC THE MAIN THING
It is most always better to choose music that matches one’s ability, particularly when we are speaking of public performance and in the context of high school solo and ensemble festivals.
Classical and through-composed musical styles require such preparation as well because all of the notes are written exactly the way the composer wants the performing artist to bring them to life. The creativity on that level is done for the instrumentalists by the composer.
It is our responsibility as performing artists to be prepared to bring qualified artistry to meet any of the composer’s visionary requirements related to performing the work.
Happy New Year!
I submitted my music to Pandora several years ago.
I received the following notification by email on Monday, January 6, 2014 … sweet!
Hi Chris Burnett - Congratulations! Your CD “Time Flies (Original Master)” has been accepted into Pandora’s Music Genome Project.
**NOTE: Since your music is going to be added to Pandora’s collection, you’ll want to make sure you register with SoundExchange, the entity responsible for collecting and distributing digital performance royalties.
The next step is for you to fill in the Submission Agreement Form and mail us your CD. Please read all of the information on this form carefully before mailing your CD to us. Incorrectly mailed CDs will be donated to the public library. All of the relevant information for you to submit your music or comedy is contained on this form.
SUBMISSION AND INCLUSION PROCESS
We’re excited about your music or comedy, and look forward to hearing it on Pandora. That said, we do have a large volume of music or comedy arriving every day. As a result, it can take a while for accepted submissions to be fully processed. It’s not unusual for three months to elapse between the time a submission is accepted and the moment it is available publicly on Pandora.
In case it helps, here’s a breakdown of the steps on our end that need to be completed before your music or comedy shows up on a Pandora station:
- Your music or comedy is accepted into the Music Genome Project
- Completed Submission Agreement Form with CD arrives at the Pandora office
- Album is loaded into the Music Genome Project system
- Tracks from the album are analyzed by a musicologist
- Analyses are verified by a senior analyst
- Data is transferred to the Pandora system
- Your music or comedy is available on Pandora
We know it’s difficult to wait, and we regret that we can’t give you more regular updates on your submission. If you’re concerned about any aspect of your submission, please wait until at least 8 weeks after your acceptance date to follow up. We’ll be happy to check on the status of your submission then. In the meantime, the best place to search for your music or comedy on Pandora is Pandora Backstage: http://pandora.com/backstage
Now that you’ve read the information above, print out the following Submission Agreement Form and CAREFULLY follow the instructions to mail your CD to us.
Thanks for providing us with a great new addition to our collection. We look forward to introducing your music or comedy to thousands of new fans over the years to come.
Never (ever) give up! … Cb
MUSINGS IN Cb: “The Internet Changed Us”
A Google of the phrase “how the Internet changed music" will yield about 58,600,000 results (in 0.32 seconds).
However, “how the Internet changed musicians" will only yield about 17 million results in about the same fraction of a second.
Both are outrageous numbers of results, but the point is that we read and talk about the Internet’s impact upon the music industry in terms of venues, labels, royalties, etc.
Despite the millions of Google hits for the search terms I posted earlier, rarely does anyone I know offline actually talk about (or, purposely seek to read about) the Internet’s real impact upon musicians, in most any terms or contexts.
I’d like to try to point out some of the things I’ve observed. Here goes …
As a composer, educator and recording artist, I am personally glad the Internet came along in my time. The tools at my disposal because of the Internet provide significant and positive possibilities to create and do my work. I wonder what Charlie Parker or John Coltrane would have done using the Internet?
MUSINGS IN Cb: “The Straw Man and Kwanzaa”
If you are reading this, you too are likely fortunate enough to have lived during various periods of black history and part of the Civil Rights Era in the USA.
Activism in that era was focused upon different issues than those we deal with today. It’s okay and necessary for us all to confront that difficult history, if we are to genuinely move past such limitations in our lifetime.
To throw out negative reference to the Black Panthers (or use the term Black Separatist) to define someone without reference to that particular movement within proper context of the societal paradigm, is not a good thing because most people don’t know the actual history of that part of our 20th Century societal history in the USA.
If you go back to that era as a reference, you may also ask: “Why were there ’60s race riots at all?” Since I did not grow up in an urban environment during my youth, I personally had to read, research and subsequently learn this aspect of our history myself.
However, even those facts do not negate the necessity for all of us to bluntly address those type social ills that many (red, yellow, black and white) are still uncomfortably dealing with objectively and in a proper contextual perspective.
And, I know I am old enough to know that essential part of our national history from having been alive then and actually experiencing it. From such an informed perspective, I am skeptical of those who opinionatedly dismiss Kwanzaa as reverse racist, as not very genuine or contextual.
If people will read all of the stated documentation and history, that says what Kwanzaa is about for themselves and then decide for themselves whether they will observe Kwanzaa or not, they would find only all positive attributes to meditate upon, regardless of our respective colors.
My family tries to live by the type tenants Kwanzaa promotes each and every day of the year, but we do not officially celebrate Kwanzaa.
The positive aspects of Kwanzaa are based upon African communal values and deal with important issues in all aspects of our society, include attributes for all people to consider, and, especially provide positive tenants to inculcate within the inherent dynamics found within the modern black community.
Celebrating such positive qualities and values by any group in any country, should be welcomed in context with the era.
I agree with any of you (who despise racism of any form) and join you in your call - “Let’s stamp out racism in our lifetime”.
Kwanzaa is not racist.
We have to get past this type of reach, and on to the next level of dialog, if we are to move forward.
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(“Straw man" = By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone’s argument, it’s much easier to present your own position as being reasonable, but this kind of dishonesty serves to undermine honest rational debate.)
MUSINGS IN Cb: ” ‘TIS THE SEASON “
We have not mailed Christmas Cards since the advent of eMail and our having a website.
Using this technology, we are better able to send our holiday greetings to more people than we could mail cards to, without inadvertently leaving someone out.
So, we send positive thoughts and prayers (appropriate seasons greetings) - hoping the season brings peace and happiness to you and yours.
And, yes, I will try to make that sentence longer next year…
Terri and Christopher
Burnett Family, est. 1979
MUSINGS IN Cb: “The New Digital Music Scene: meet the new boss, same as the old boss?”
It has been a while since I got sucked into an old fashioned bulletin board-type of thread. Lots of flames going on, but I posted the following nonetheless because it addresses points we seem to forget while in the heat of the moment of creating, distributing and promoting our records. You can access the original post by clicking the title above the photo.
I got to know Steven Cravis during the years of promoting music at the original MP3.com. He was a very ethical person then and I don’t think he has changed. I have never dealt with Tunecore because I chose not to. The primary problem that I have had since the very beginning of Internet music dealing with all forms of online and digital distribution has always been the audit trail. You (artist / indie label) don’t really know what was sold / collected in this model. You have to take the word of the platform provider that distributes your music to the retailers and other licensing customers. I am not sure an entity like Tunecore or CD Baby isn’t more powerful than the “major labels” because there are lots more indies paying to use these services than there are artists that major labels are loaning money to. I currently use CD Baby, even though it has changed lots since Derek Sivers sold it, but there are other options out there: Bandcamp. Your own webstore. Your own deal with Amazon (forget trying to get your own deal with iTunes). Peace, Cb
Are we all more racist than we realise or would like to admit?
For this Channel 4 documentary Jane Elliott, a controversial former schoolteacher from Ohio, is recreating the shocking exercise she used forty years ago to teach her nine year-old pupils about prejudice.
Elliott is asking thirty adult British volunteers - men and women of different ages and backgrounds - to experience inequality based on their eye colour to show how susceptible we can all be to bigotry, and what it feels like to be on the other side of arbitrary discrimination.
Does Elliott’s exercise still have something to teach us four decades on and in a different country? Presented by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the exercise is observed throughout by two expert psychologists, Prof Dominic Abrams and Dr Funké Baffour, who will be unpicking the behaviour on display.
First shown on Channel 4, Thursday 29 October 2009.