Christopher L. Burnett (BMI)
Christopher Burnett is a critically acclaimed alto saxophonist, educator, arts industry business leader, and composer who began his professional career with military jazz bands “going pro” directly upon graduating high school at 18 years old. Over the course of his career, Mr. Burnett has performed professionally around the world, recorded noteworthy albums as a leader, taught at the college-level and co-founded a significant independent recording label, Artists Recording Collective.
Born in Olathe, Kansas, the middle son of Clifford LeRoy Burnett and Violet Lorraine Jackson Burnett, his family traveled frequently during his youth due to his father being a member of the active US Air Force. He was ultimately raised in his maternal hometown of Paola, Kansas where the family had moved once his father’s military career concluded in 1963.
His mother was a significant influence on his choosing music as a professional career. And, it was his eldest brother, Richie Pratt, who mentored and encouraged him in the music business as a professional.
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Subsequently, Mr. Burnett began his professional tenure by completing a full 22-year career performing and touring with notable military bands prior to embarking upon his current activities within the music scene at large.
Mr. Burnett has released three albums as a leader. His latest, ‘Firebird’, was released as single tracks on the ARC label. Additional credits include performances, and a new recording with the Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet titled, “Echoes of Europe.” He is an in-demand woodwind instructor and jazz clinician, serving as festival adjudicator and conductor for honors ensembles on many occasions.
Mr. Burnett was the keynote speaker for the 2016 Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Fort Leavenworth and the 2017 Black History Month celebration of the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center’s CPAC. The Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Drury University invited Mr. Burnett to be its first speaker in their ‘Self-Employment in the Arts’ series for 2016.
Mr. Burnett received Kansas Press Association awards in 2016 and 2017 for several articles while working as the Staff Writer and Reporter for the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper. A highlight of that tenure was his interview article with the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns (Jazz) regarding “The Vietnam War.” Mr. Burnett continues his work as a jazz journalist serving as a writer and editor of Jazz Artistry Now magazine.
He held adjunct professor of music positions with University of Missouri Science and Technology, formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla (10 years) and at Metropolitan Community Colleges (5 years). Mr. Burnett directed the marketing and communications department, concurrent with other key positions while working 5 years at the American Jazz Museum.
He is the 1995 5-Star Award of Merit Winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs as a Composer. The Missouri Arts Council appointed Mr. Burnett to serve on the Advisory Panel for Multidiscipline for one term – ending June 30, 2016. Mr. Burnett has most recently served as a grant review panelist for the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission.
Mr. Burnett worked with Leon A. Brady’s famous jazz education program for five years (until Mr. Brady retired), presenting a jazz improvisation clinic at the Kansas Bandmasters Association convention, and accompanying the program as the faculty representative during its special invitation trip to the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, April 9-11, 2010.
As an Official Endorsing Artist and Clinician he presented a clinic sponsored by Conn-Selmer at the 2018 Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop. In 2019 his quintet was the Guest Artist for the Northwest Jazz Festival where he gave his “Jumpstart Improvisation With Scales” masterclass and served as one of the adjudicators.
Mr. Burnett is also the Founder and Artistic Director of KC Area Youth Jazz. KCAYJ is an innovative and unique approach to the community music education program model. KCAYJ students are selected by audition and learn about both – the music and the business of jazz.
In addition to performing, composing and teaching privately, Mr. Burnett is currently a teaching assistant (serving as Woodwind Artist in Residence and Jazz Clinician) for Leavenworth Unified School District 453 working with both, Dr. Jared Prost in the high school instrumental music department and Jaye George in the middle school instrumental music department.
ChrisBurnettQuartet.com is the official website of his ensembles, artistic projects and concert activities. Mr. Burnett is an official Conn-Selmer Artist and Clinician. He officially endorses and plays Selmer (Paris) Saxophones exclusively.
He has performed alongside and worked with many wonderful artists. He has shared the stage and studio with great musicians such as Bobby Watson, Will Matthews, Bob Bowman, Marcus Hampton, Ahmed Alaadeen, Greg Carroll, Bill Crain, David Basse, Sumi Tonooka, Erica Lindsay, Dino Massa, Marco Zurzolo, Lutz Herbig, Michael Session, Jeff “Siege” Siegel, Michael Jefry Stevens, Stanton Kessler, Jim Nesbit, Keith Philbrick, Dr. Jerry Coker, Kevin Cerovich, Roger Wilder, Bill McKemy, Charles Gatschet, Gerald Dunn, Dennis Winslett, Kerry Strayer, Harold O’Neal, Clarence Smith, Matt Otto, John Kizilarmut, Dr. Craig Treinen, Dr. Arthur White, Dr. Mike Pagan, Dr. David Aaberg, Dr. Louis Neal, and Gerald Spaits among many others.
Press and Quotes
- a prominent Kansas City saxophonist, bandleader, instructor, and raconteur – Bill Brownlee, KCUR, Ink Magazine (as Music Critic, KCUR 89.3 FM, NPR) “Christopher Burnett is a prominent Kansas City saxophonist, bandleader, instructor, and raconteur. He also operates Artists Recording Collective, a record label that has released dozens of albums by jazz musicians from around the world.”
- One of the most promising emergent jazz musicians in town – Joe Klopus, Jazz Town (as Jazz Critic, Kansas City Star) “One of the most promising emergent jazz musicians in town isn’t some kid straight out of school or still in school.”
- The playlist was strong, emphasizing classic compositions from jazz greats – Roger Atkinson (as Editor, Jazz Ambassador Magazine) “At The Drum Room, Chris’ facility was sure as he breezed through his sets. The playlist was strong, emphasizing classic compositions from jazz greats: “Dolphin Dance”, “Black Narcissus”, “Recorda-Me”, “Moments Notice”, and an original blues. Chris’ tone is always controlled, and he has a way of embellishing the melody as he moves into his solo which is especially appealing.”
- his own language, his own sound – KC Community News “For more than 30 years, Chris Burnett has worked to develop his own language, his own sound. A musician’s sound can’t be borrowed or stolen, but rather expanded and created anew.”
- you should be on every stage worldwide – Tim Price (a Conn-Selmer Artist/Clinician) “The music you play sounds so beautiful- you should be on every stage worldwide. KEEP ON.”
- exotically beautiful music – Vivendi Universal “… exotically beautiful music that contemporary jazz lovers will devour!”
- gives the modern soprano sax some jazz authority – All About Jazz
“Chris Burnett gives the modern soprano sax some jazz authority…”
- His saxophones wail with emotion – Cadence Magazine “… His saxophones wail with emotion and his fingers give each presentation a thorough going-over, however, that allows Burnett to express accurately and fully the musical dreams that he’s harbored for years.”
- You did a terrific job and the directors were appreciative – Prof. Clarence Smith (as Director, MCC Penn Valley 18th and Vine Jazz Festival) “Wow! You did a terrific job and the directors were appreciative of your comments and work with their students. I’m certain you’ll receive some calls for clinics and masterclasses.”
- My students learn a ton every time he visits us, and to be honest, so do I! – Dr. Luke Johnson (as Director of Bands, Lansing High School) “I have had Chris Burnett out to work with my jazz band several times, and it is always refreshing to get his perspective and expertise. He has a love for jazz and music that is evident in the way he presents and plays. My students learn a ton every time he visits us, and to be honest, so do I!”
- I highly recommend him! – Lewis Hundley (as KMEA District Jazz Chair) “The PSU/KMEA District II concert was great! I am very proud of the students’ hard work. Our clinician, Chris Burnett, exceeded my expectations and (I) am thankful to have had the opportunity to watch him work. If you are searching for a top-notch educator/musician/clinician, I highly recommend him!”
- Most notable was his exceptional work in the areas of brand marketing, communications, event promotions, website/ social media development and media partnership development… – Gregory A. Carroll (as CEO American Jazz Museum) “As the CEO of the American Jazz Museum, I had the pleasure of hiring and working closely with Mr. Burnett for nearly 5 years during our co-tenures at that institution. Mr. Burnett worked in the capacity as Marketing Director. Admittedly, I fielded a fair amount of criticism at the onset from my decision to hire Mr. Burnett because he was essentially not a “typical” seasoned or professionally trained marketing specialist. However, that criticism quickly subsided due to his uncommonly keen skills in the areas of which we needed intentional focus. Most notable was his exceptional work in the areas of brand marketing, communications, event promotions, website/ social media development and media partnership development.”
Selected Review Quotes
- “This record was immediately attractive on first listen, and subsequent plays have not dimmed my enthusiasm.”
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- “Echoes of Europe” è un album colmo di colorazioni world music e ventate impressioniste, in cui l’apollinea cantabilità dei temi e la mirabile candidezza comunicativa rappresentano l’autentico messaggio da cogliere al volo.
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- “It’s an exceptionally graceful album that imbues mainstream jazz with the elegant sheen of classical chamber music.”
~ Bill Brownlee (The Kansas City Star, Ink Magazine), KCUR
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- “…rich water colors of sound. Like listening to Monet.”
~ George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly