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Chris Burnett from Kansas Kansas City

Artist History

Christopher LeRoy Burnett was born on November 2nd, 1955 in Olathe, Kansas - a city suburb of Kansas City, Kansas. Primarily known as Chris Burnett and starting his active career in 1974 at the age of 18 years old, he has continued as a life-long learner while performing music professionally for over three decades. After his family traveled extensively in early childhood and lived at such places as: France, Michigan and Colorado, he was subsequently raised and grew up in the small KC metro city of Paola, Kansas where his studies in music began seriously under clarinetist, James R. Fuchs. Mr. Fuchs was the local school band director who exposed him to professional saxophone players like Charles Molina and Gary Foster during those formative years. His brother, Richie Pratt, who is also a musician (Lionel Hampton, Junior Mance, Aretha Franklin, New York Jazz Quartet, Broadway, Films, Studios ...), and the eldest sibling in his family continues to serve as a significant professional role model and mentor. Today, Mr. Burnett continues to perform at various locations world-wide, while being permanently based at home in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

* "Being in the military, I got closer to my country. Sure, it has its issues, but there is no other place, there's no better system, there's no other place where I could have become me, in the world. And in this music, I know I have to bring my point of view, just like the people before me that I admire, like Louis, Miles, Coltrane, Charlie Parker. They had the courage to be themselves." ~ Chris Burnett

Prior to establishing his current professional performing and recording artist activities, Mr. Burnett completed a 22-year active-duty career performing professionally and touring with various noteworthy US military bands organizations. And thus, he has already participated in thousands of live performances. As an example, in addition to jazz concerts, the NATO Band performed weekly Honors Ceremonies for numerous high ranking political dignitaries such as various heads of state, official government diplomats and top military leaders including General Colin Powell, as well as participating in special functions like performing the preliminary music for the arrival of Pope John Paul II at the port of Pozzuoli, Italy (a city of the province of Naples, in the Italian region of Campania) in November 1990.

His honorable services resulted in the receipt of numerous award decorations, for both musical and military excellence, and include: the Department of Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two individual awards of the Army Meritorious Service Medal, and many others. Notable highlights of his military music career include: a Staff and Faculty assignment at the Armed Forces School of Music; Leading Chief Petty Officer of the NATO Band at Naples, Italy where he served as NATO Ceremonial Band Conductor, Jazz Ensemble Director, and featured soloist during performance tours which also included several television broadcasts; accepted for assignment to the West Point Military Academy Band's Jazz Knights as a jazz alto saxophonist; accepted for assignment to the Armed Forces School of Music as a Jazz Ensemble Rehearsal Conductor; being featured at the age of 23 years old, as jazz alto saxophone soloist with the Hof Symphony Orchestra (Germany) during two recorded Hauptkoncert (Main Concert) performances of the Rolf Liebermann 12-tone serial work, Concerto for Jazz Band and Symphony Orchestra (comp. 1954); along with jazz performances with his quartet outside of the military jobs. He was also selected to participate in a special "Staffing for Army Bands" video teleconference that resulted in the development and implementation of management systems that continue to positively and significantly impact the modern operational functionality of Army bands.

Ultimately, Mr. Burnett's service with professional military musical organizations provided vast legitimate educational opportunities; while simultaneously providing the essential incomparable real world performing and touring experiences that are necessary for an artist to mature and develop a unique musical voice. Therefore, his credentials in this regard have ultimately been validated and his artistry consistently proven over a significant period of time that covers several decades as well.

* "I played a lot of different styles of music in the military. I played in the rain and in the snow. I wouldn't choose to do that. Now I can choose what I want to do. I worked hard and paid those dues..." ~ Chris Burnett


Performing Artist and Award-winning Published Composer

As an active BMI Writer Affiliate, his ensemble performances and studio recordings primarily feature his original compositions and his interpretive arrangements of select works by other composers. As a composer, Mr. Burnett is the 1995 5-Star Award of Merit Winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs for his original composition and arrangement for big band titled, Daedalus. His debut CD titled, “Time Flies", was recorded with the last edition of his group named, "4-Jazz", which included: Jeff Stewart on piano, Elliot Kuykendall on acoustic and electric basses; and, Ken Baldwin and/or Bob Habib on drum set and percussion.

Another unique aspect of "Time Flies" is that it features Mr. Burnett with Chicago-based jazz pianist, Benjamin Lewis (Founder, MIDI Jazz Network), on one of the earliest Internet musical production collaborations ever formally documented, published and released on a commercially distributed professional CD. A modern thinker and early explorer of the digital music landscape, Burnett garnered more than a half million music downloads and sold CDs to fans in 38 countries via MP3.com (1999-2003) before most musicians had figured out that there were other ways than major record label contracts and brick-and-mortar retail stores to reach listeners. With several new CD projects scheduled to be recorded and released, "Time Flies" stands as a bonafide successful commercial album (i.e., meaning that in addition to critical acclaim, "Time Flies" CD sales have recouped all production expenses). Distributed worldwide on the Artists Recording Collective label brand, "Time Flies" continues to garner the highest of positive musical reviews and commentary from both, professional music critics and listening fans alike.

* "It's important to be able to build relationships with some musicians, rather than just hiring musicians and going to the studio to record. The music can become organic, the way the music is supposed to be. That's the kind of music we grew up with." ~ Chris Burnett

The goal of documenting music that rewards repeated listening has been achieved with his debut CD. Chris Burnett’s music is also being licensed by The Weather Channel and many others. In 2005, Mr. Burnett was commissioned by the American Royal’s BOTAR organization to orchestrate and arrange the special music for the choreographed dance presentation held during the annual BOTAR Ball ceremony program. The quality of his work and the high degree of his professionalism resulted in Mr. Burnett earning the commissions for both, the 2006 and 2007 BOTAR Balls, which were again very successful.

Performing Artist and Bandleader

Chris Burnett Quartet was formed upon his return home to live in the Kansas City area in 2001. Thus, he began another new phase of his career as a performer. The Chris Burnett Quartet debuted with a performance on the main stage of the Roots Festival at Paola, Kansas in 2002. In 2003, he was contacted to open at the Adam's Mark in Kansas City for Maynard Ferguson by the late jazz trumpet legend's management. As a result of that successful performance, an official of the Elms Resort and Spa who was in the audience, contracted CbQ to appear as the featured group at their 4th Annual Jazz and Wine Festival in Excelsior Springs, Missouri in 2004.

Some of the other recent performances included performing and successfully hosting the “Blue Monday Jam" at Kansas City's famous Blue Room jazz club in 2004 - thus validating the viability of his artistry within the historic "18th and Vine Jazz District" scene too. Mr. Burnett also participated in a special broadcast performance and recording for "The Jazz Scene - Holiday Show" radio program for Kansas Public Radio. Although 2005 was primarily a year of sideman performances and administrative music business work for Mr. Burnett, these opportunities were sincerely appreciated. He engaged each opportunity with equal enthusiasm, artistry and professionalism; while performing at events such as the very first Rhythm & Ribs 18th and Vine Jazz Festival, the 10th annual Parkville Jazz and Arts Festival, among other events that year. Ultimately, his contributions have been tangible in many areas of the music industry since being welcomed back home to the Kansas City area as an artist by the arts community, music journalists and professional artist colleagues alike.

In 2006 he also began engaging opportunities that include performing and touring - traveling to perform at both, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Austin, Texas that summer. Chris Burnett Quartet began getting regular performance opportunities at the newly renovated historic Hilton President Kansas City in The Drum Room on May 26, 2006. He was one of the very first artists featured by the newly renovated and historic Hilton President where he performed on the first Saturday of each month in the famous Drum Room within the Kansas City Power and Light District for over two years: 2006-2008. This regular performing opportunity introduced him to the jazz community and was very important because it simply gave Burnett's music the chance to be heard by global visitors staying at the Hilton President Kansas City, Kansas City Jazz Community audiences, along with members of Kansas City Area Press/Media.

Mr. Burnett's professional musical activities as: composer, performer, arranger and clinician; since returning home to the Kansas City area in 2001 are diverse. Past Clients and Venues Performed include: American Jazz Museum's Blue Room (Kansas City), Missouri River Valley Choral Festival (Leavenworth, KS), Northwest Missouri State University Jazz Festival, Paola Roots Festival, Leavenworth High School Jazz Band, Lansing High School Jazz Band, McDonalds Corporation, Gem Theater (Kansas City), Alaadeen Enterprises, Inc., Fandeen Publishing Company, Inc., The Drum Room (Kansas City), Belles of the American Royal, Pleasant Ridge High School Band, City Light Orchestra, Kansas Public Radio, Elms Resort Jazz Festival, Maynard Ferguson, The Elephant Room (Austin, TX), Scalo Northern Italian Grill (Albuquerque, NM), Alfredo's Coffee House (Albuquerque, NM), Mutual Musicians Foundation (Kansas City), Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival (Topeka, KS), Riverfront Community Center (Leavenworth, KS), The Toon Shop Lessons Studio (Leavenworth, KS), The Tune Shop Lessons Studio (Leavenworth, KS),The Sweet Life at Rosehill (Shawnee, KS), Claridge Court (Prairie Village, KS), The Uptown Theater (Kansas City), Concorde Fortress of Hope Baptist Church (Kansas City), Osawatomie Cultural Center (Osawatomie, KS), Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center (Leavenworth, KS), and St. James A.M.E. Church (Paola, KS), Kansas City Youth Jazz, Inc., among others.

Today, Chris Burnett has established a credible reputation as one of the finest alto saxophonists of his generation and is considered among Kansas City's most respected jazz artists. Having established his proven ability to develop an audience when given the opportunity, Mr. Burnett's goals also include booking performances at other venues too, while continually integrating more and more of his original music into the concert and performance set lists. Another goal is continuing to realize a series of select performances at select world-wide venues during his annual periods of travel outside of the Kansas City area and region.

Performing Artist and Educator

Artist Outreach and Community Service as a professional musician have been important elements from the start of Mr. Burnett's professional music career. This attitude is based upon his own experiences of having the benefit of learning from great music educators, as well as, having the benefit of numerous professional performing artists as mentors throughout the various stages of his active career.

So, in addition to his professional performance activities, Mr. Burnett remains involved in the development of student musicians as an IAJE artist/clinician (active member since 1985); through his own private teaching practice; and the conduct of affordable music clinics at local schools in the Kansas City area. Having supported the efforts of school music educators for over 25 years, first through hundreds of clinics during his career with military bands and now privately through his own Artist Outreach Program, he brings a professional performer's perspective and an educator's understanding to each setting.

Mr. Burnett has noteworthy college-level teaching experience as a former director of the jazz ensemble program at Missouri University of Science and Technology, formerly University of Missouri-Rolla, where he was employed as an adjunct Lecturer in Music for more than 10 years (academic years: 1984-1990 and 1996-2000) until returning home to the Kansas City area. He was bestowed as an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma chapters at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He was also one of the principle artist/educators featured at the First Annual Jazz Education Forum and Jazz Festival in 1998, which was held in Jefferson City, Missouri. At which, he performed with his own quartet, as well as with another stellar group comprised of: Bill Cunliffe (piano), Kristin Korb (bass), and Yoron Israel, (drums). Mr. Burnett has taught several hundred students over the years. Some have gone on to study music at the college level, then engage professional careers in music as performers, recording artists or educators themselves.

Today, Mr. Burnett continues his private teaching practice in affiliation with the retail music store of his local community and maintains a medium sized studio of music students who cover a demographical range that includes all skill levels. He was recently offered the woodwind instructor position for the Music Scholars Program by Prof. Jim Mair, which he accepted. Music Scholars is a partnership between the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and Kansas City Kansas Community College and developed in cooperation with the Kansas City Kansas School District’s music directors. The program provides underserved students in the Kansas City Kansas School district private music lessons. Lessons are instructed by area professionals including members of the KCJO. Lessons take place at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Most recently, he was personally invited by Mr. Leon A. Brady to become involved with Kansas City Youth Jazz, Inc. where Mr. Burnett will primarily serve as one of the Sectional Instructors. His positive impact as private instructor and music clinician since 1980 is validated by numerous school music programs he served and the hundreds of music students Mr. Burnett has personally taught. His students continue to earn honors at solo and ensemble contests, earn selection to all-district and all-state music ensembles, and many are subsequently selected to participate in special musical events and performance ensembles throughout the Kansas City metro.

* "My mom really taught us a couple of important values: service to the community and never forget your roots. The most important thing I do is teach about thirty kids privately. " ~ Chris Burnett

Performing Artist and Businessman

BurnettMusic.com is not only his official artist website domain name, but also an organized sole proprietorship business entity that is owned and operated by Mr. Burnett. His developed technical knowledge, proven management abilities and tempered experience as a businessman, result in several significant professional associations of BurnettMusic.com with other established music businesses and arts organizations.

As a publisher and businessman, Mr. Burnett also gained valuable experience while serving as a staff writer/arranger and company manager for many noteworthy military band assignments. Shortly after arriving back home and getting settled in the Kansas City metro, he began utilizing his diverse skills and vast experience to constructively contribute to the KC scene. Mr. Burnett would eventually meet Ahmad Alaadeen and subsequently join the Kansas City jazz legend’s organizations by volunteering his time and services for free while performing a myriad of essential administrative duties, arranging music and also serving as a participating Board Member for the non-profit entity, Alaadeen Enterprises, Inc. from 2002-2007. His pure motivation was to contribute his professional skills while learning about the Kansas City music scene.

Mr. Burnett has been subsequently invited to become a part of the artsONE Artists Council. The Artists Council of artsONE is comprised of well known and respected local Kansas City Jazz and Blues artists. In December 2007, Chris Burnett, along with New York-based artists, Erica Lindsay and Sumi Tonooka, co-founded Artists Recording Collective - an American label brand that serves as a dynamic and multi-dimensional platform to present the works and services of a select roster of artists. Subsequently, Artists Recording Collective formally launched its first commercial CD recording release in early 2008 to critical acclaim and National Radio Chart success. Mr. Burnett was most recently asked to serve as a member of the Advisory Council for Kansas City Youth Jazz, which is composed of musicians, business and community members who contribute regularly to various activities crucial to the operation of the organization. These include programming, concert logistics, fundraising, outreach and many, many others.

Mr. Burnett’s Professional Memberships include: American Federation of Musicians (Kansas City Local 34-627), The Recording Academy (GRAMMY®), and the US Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP).

BIO CREDITS: BurnettMusic.com
*QUOTES from Jazz Ambassador Magazine feature article. Also see: www.BurnettMusic.com

Chris Burnett Blog
Music coming soon...
POSTED BY: cbjazz POSTED ON: 19 Feb 2009 06:45 PM
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