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Greg Burk

Text in englischer Sprache verfügbar
An engaging pianist and educator, Greg Burk is known for his sophisticated, deeply lyrical post-bop, influenced by his teachers Paul Bley and Yusef Lateef. A Michigan native, Burk spent his formative years in the 1990s playing in Detroit before gaining wider attention on the East Coast and in Europe, working with artists like Steve Swallow, Jerry Bergonzi, Gerald Cleaver, Benny Golson, Frank Lacy, and others. Along with teaching at Berklee College of Music and New York University, as well as conservatories in his adopted home of Italy, he has released his own small group albums, including 2002's Checking In, 2010's Unduality, and 2018's Detroit Songbook. Born in 1969 in Lansing, Michigan, Burk grew up in a creative family with parents who were both active in classical music. He studied piano from a young age and gained early encouragement to pursue jazz from his improv-minded grandmother. By the time he was in his teens, he was performing in his school's jazz band and playing professional gigs. After high school, he studied at UMass-Amherst, where he worked under Yusef Lateef and Archie Shepp, and finished his bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan. Following his time in college, Burk moved to Bratislava, Slovakia, and toured central Europe with his own trio for a year before returning home. A regular on the Detroit and Ann Arbor jazz scene, he honed his performance and compositional skills working with artists like James Carter, Rodney Whitaker, and Gerald Cleaver, among many others. Around age 25, Burk returned to school, enrolling at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he completed his master's degree with teachers like George Russell, Danilo Perez, and Paul Bley, the latter of whom became a major influence on his playing. Along with live work around Boston, he became an assistant professor at the Berklee College of Music. In 2001, he made his solo debut with Progressions and Digressions. He also played keyboards in the fusion outfit Fat Dragon and formed Bouncing Bach with guitarist Garrison Fewell, arranging Bach themes for jazz quartet. Burk also joined the reconstituted Either/Orchestra and appeared as a pianist and composer on their 2002 album Afro-Cubism. Also in 2002, Burk made his first internationally available recording as a leader with Checking In. Released on Soul Note, it showcased his trio with bassist Jon Robinson and drummer Ra-Kalam Bob Moses. A quartet date, Carpe Momentum, followed two years later also on Soul Note. More albums followed on the 482 label, including 2005's Nothing, Knowing and 2006's The Way In. The pianist returned to the Soul Note label for his 2007 quartet album Berlin Bright. In 2010, he collaborated with percussionist Vicente LeBron on Unduality. Along with playing solo and leading his trio, Burk also stayed active teaching, working at New York University before relocating to Italy, where he taught at both the Conservatory of Frosinone and the Conservatorio G. Verdi. He eventually settled with his family in Rome. In 2014, he again paired with longtime associate Bob Moses on We Are One. A trio date, Deep Blue Sky, and a solo album, Clean Spring, both arrived in 2016. The following year, Burk released the quartet album Fatherhood, featuring Moses, as well as cornetist Rossen Zahariev, saxophonist Matt Renzi, and bassist Aryeh Kobrinski. He then returned to his roots with 2018's trio album The Detroit Songbook. The solo session As a River appeared in 2019, followed a year later by the trio effort Message in the Clouds.
© Matt Collar /TiVo
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