All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Interviews


Dwayne Burno: Tradition

George Colligan By

Sign in to view read count
In my junior year of high school, I was approached by a wise man, the head of the Music and Art Magnet programs, Dr. George E. Allen. He looked into my personality and knew my interest, knowledge and love for jazz as well as the depth of my talent. Though it made absolutely no sense to me at the time, it made perfect sense for him to give me an acoustic bass and tell me to learn it and join the jazz quintet. The program had two freshmen [that] didn't know their instruments or music well enough to jump into making the school's quintet happen right away. I didn't know a thing about double bass other than the fact it was the lowest pitched member of the family of string instruments and it was strung in intervals of perfect fourths. What made me a "go" with my teacher was he knew the speed I could grasp anything musical. Consequently, when my teacher handed off the instrument, he also gave me a tune list to learn so we'd have a full repertoire as a band. I was given two weeks to get it together before our first gig. As a working unit, we played numerous professional gigs. I was earning a better than average wage not only were we earning money but we were learning lessons for our futures. My teacher also taught us things like being early to places to set up and to tip waitpersons—I digress.

The summer before I entered Berklee College of Music [in] 1988, I altered my regular summer routine, much to my mother's dislike. I had worked a city sponsored summer job since age 14 and this kept money in my pocket and kept me out of the house. I knew I was entering a new frontier based on the level of success spurned and spawned at Berklee. I had already made gigs with alums like Wallace Roney and Donald Harrison. Coincidentally, they both factored greatly in my musical development and had hands in pushing me in directions that led me to where I am now. Wallace wrote a letter to Berklee, which aided in my acceptance and a small scholarship. Donald is who I give the credit for actually getting me to New York with work. I had played in his band since June of 1989, which preceded both Betty Carter and Jesse Davis as the reason I ended up in New York. Once I began working with Betty Carter, she forced me to move to New York with the lame excuse that if I wanted to keep her gig, I had to move immediately. What if she wanted to have a rehearsal? Of course I pointed out to her that I lived in Philly and came to her house from Philly on the train at a moment's notice whenever she called a rehearsal. But I digress.

Back to practicing and the summer of '88. I geared up for what I figured would be my greatest musical challenge to date in my life. I had only been playing my instrument for two full years at the point of entering college. I knew folks that had been on their instruments for over ten years and sounded like it. I felt like a babe in the woods and a deer in the headlights.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Ben Allison: Between Groove and Melody Interviews
Ben Allison: Between Groove and Melody
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary Interviews
Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2018
Read Bobby Previte: the Art of Travelling Trustingly Interviews
Bobby Previte: the Art of Travelling Trustingly
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: March 14, 2018
Read Dafnis Prieto: Cross-Cultural Mix Interviews
Dafnis Prieto: Cross-Cultural Mix
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 13, 2018
Read Julian Pressley: From The Duke To Ornette In His Own Way Interviews
Julian Pressley: From The Duke To Ornette In His Own Way
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 12, 2018
Read Stephen Nomura Schible: I wanted to make an intimate portrait of Ryuichi Sakamoto Interviews
Stephen Nomura Schible: I wanted to make an intimate...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 10, 2018
Read "Grace Kelly: Free From Boundaries" Interviews Grace Kelly: Free From Boundaries
by Doug Hall
Published: January 27, 2018
Read "Helle Henning: Nordic Sounds" Interviews Helle Henning: Nordic Sounds
by Suzanne Lorge
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Craig Taborn and his multiple motion" Interviews Craig Taborn and his multiple motion
by Giuseppe Segala
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Lwanda Gogwana: Tradition and Innovation" Interviews Lwanda Gogwana: Tradition and Innovation
by Seton Hawkins
Published: September 9, 2017