Happy Birthday Ronnie Burrage

October 19, 1959

A birthday tribute to the powerful and versatile drummer

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Drummer Ronnie Burrage was born Oct. 19, 1959, in St. Louis, Missouri.

From the ages of seven until 11, he sang in the St. Louis Cathedral Boys Choir which included a performance with Duke Ellington.

During that period he began playing drums, vibes, and percussion while also singing in funk and r&b groups plus the Expression Jazz Quintet.

Burrage spent two years as a teenager playing with the jazz group No Commercial Potential, moving to New York City when he was 17.

He worked with Lester Bowie, Sir Roland Hanna, and Major Holley, attended North Texas State University, and was a member of the St. Louis Metropolitan Jazz Quintet in the early 1980s.

The versatile drummer, who first recorded in 1979, led the Burrage Ensemble during 1980-83 (sidemen included Kenny Kirkland, Marcus Miller, Wallace Roney, and both Wynton and Branford Marsalis), worked with Woody Shaw, founded the avant-garde group Third Kind Of Blue, and in the 1990s recorded with such notables as Billy Bang, Hamiet Bluiett, Sonny Fortune, Courtney Pine, Jack Walrath, Ronnie Cuber, James Williams, Ray Anderson, Billy Bang, and the World Saxophone Quartet among many others.

Burrage, who has led seven albums of his own, was an instructor at Jazzmobile (1994-2002) and has taught at various colleges.

The drummer is featured on an electronic exploration with Band Burrage in 2010, a group also including Gregoire Maret on harmonica, keyboardist Delmar Brown, and bassist Mike Dougherty.

-Scott Yanow


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