John Burch (musician)

For the ENglish organist, see John Birch (musician).
For the Bermudian guitarist, John Burch, see The Invaders (band).

John Burch (6 January 1932 18 April 2006)[1] was an English pianist, composer and bandleader, equally at home playing traditional jazz, bebop, blues, skiffle, boogie-woogie and rock.

He variously worked with Graham Bond, Jeff Clyne, Bobby Wellins, Don Rendell, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Red Rodney, Kathy Stobart, Dick Morrissey, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Jon Eardley, Freddie Hubbard, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.[1]

Life and career

John Alexander Burchell was born in London, England.[1] Having started piano lessons at age 12, he played in army bands during his military service stationed in Germany and in the late 1950s toured military bases with his group, which included Graham Bond. In 1959, he toured France with bassist Jeff Clyne and saxophonist Bobby Wellins.

In 1960 he joined Allan Ganley's Jazzmakers. In the early 1960s he led a quartet and an octet with Graham Bond, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Ray Warleigh, Peter King, Hank Shaw and future Cream founders Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. In 1965 he led a trio featuring Ron Mathewson and John Stevens. In 1984, he re-formed the octet with Dick Morrissey, at the same time playing with UK jazz-funk band Morrissey–Mullen.

As a composer, he wrote "Preach and Teach" (1966) which provided the B-side of Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames' hit "Yeh Yeh" and was also recorded by Buddy Rich. He composed Fame's follow-up, "In the Meantime", and also its B-side, "Telegram".[2]

He dedicated his "Resurrection Ritual Suite" to Dick Morrissey and on his death had just completed a tribute to Ronnie Scott called "Just By Chance".

He was also a teacher on the Barry Summer School jazz-education project. which was attended by pianist Keith Tippett.

Burch died from cancer in April 2006, aged 74.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2006 January To June". Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  2. "Georgie Fame And The Blue Flames - In The Meantime / Telegram - Columbia - UK - DB 7494". 45cat. 1965-02-20. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
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