The Full Story

Abraham Burton

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Accomplishments

For three decades, world-renowned saxophonist and educator Abraham Burton has been a prominent figure on the jazz scene. Showcased as a soloist on two Grammy award-winning albums, Abraham also has been a featured musician on dozens of recordings.

Throughout his career Abraham has performed and recorded with numerous contemporaries and legendary jazz artists including Rashid Ali, Kenny Barron, Walter Bishop Jr., Randy Brecker, George Cables, Michael Carvin, Marc Cary, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Davis, Santi Debriano, Rein de Graaff, Roy Hargrove, Louis Hayes, Roy Haynes, Eddie Henderson, Freddie Hendrix, Conrad Herwig, John Hicks, Terumasa Hino, Yosuke Inoue, Victor Lewis, Harold Mabern, Christian McBride, Jackie McLean, Eric McPherson, Mulgrew Miller, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, David Murray, Steve Nelson, Nicholas Payton, Alvin Queen, Nat Reeves, Larry Ridley, Wallace Roney, Jimmy Smith, Arthur Taylor, Horace Tapscott, Nasheet Waits, Kenny Washington, Peter Washington, Larry Willis, Jimmy Woode and Reggie Workman.

Early Life

Born and raised in Greenwich Village, the “Mecca” of jazz, Abraham’s interest in music was ignited by the many pioneers on the New York scene. Determined to explore the jazz idiom, Abraham attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & the Performing Arts, under the tutelage of head jazz instructor Justin Dicioccio. Abraham was chosen by Dicioccio to be the alto man in an all-star quintet, which was awarded best jazz combo by Downbeat Magazine. In addition, Abraham received an award for outstanding soloist. In the same year, Abraham won the McDonald’s Jazz Combo Competition in trio fashion.

While in high school, Abraham frequented jazz clubs and became personally acquainted with and mentored by many popular jazz artists such as Cecile Bridgewater, Richard Davis, Water Davis Jr., Barry Harris, Billy Higgins, Elvin Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Max Roach, Bill Saxton and Fredrick Waits, to whom Abraham credits much of his musical foundation and education. 

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Career 

In the mid-80’s, Abraham met celebrated saxophonist Jackie McLean with whom he began an apprenticeship.  Over the next several years, Abraham studied with McLean at the Hartt School of Music. In 1993, Abraham received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Performance from the University of Hartford, graduating with honors.  In 2013, Abraham received the prestigious Ralph Bunche Fellowship at Rutgers University where he obtained his Masters Degree in Music.

Abraham's professional career initiated with master drummer Arthur Taylor. As a “Wailer," Abraham recorded on the albums Mr. A.T. and Live at the Village Vanguard. Abraham began touring throughout Europe and at popular New York jazz clubs including The Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Sweet Basil and Birdland.

Abraham also began performing with his own dynamic group, The Abraham Burton Quartet. The collective has been featured at venues and festivals worldwide including the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Moors Jazz Festival, The JVC jazz Festival and the Pori Jazz Festival. The Band has also appeared internationally on television and radio programs and has recorded a notable collection of albums under Abraham’s leadership.

A part of the Mingus family for two decades, Abraham has performed globally in all three ensembles The Mingus Big Band, the Mingus Dynasty and the Mingus Orchestra.

In recent years, Abraham began teaching and sharing his musical knowledge and experience with future generations. He joined the faculty at both the Jackie McLean institute of Jazz (University of Hartford) and Rutgers University where his classes are in high demand. His decades of experience and commitment to music have made him an exceptional musician and gifted educator.