Burch(ell), John (Alexander)

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Burch(ell), John (Alexander)

Burch(ell), John (Alexander), jazz pianist, composer; b. London, Jan. 6, 1932. He studied piano from age 12, performed in Army bands, then gigged around London. In the late 1950s, he worked with own trio on U.S. bases in Europe. He played with the Jazzmakers in summer 1960, then joined the Don Ren–dell Quartet (early 1961–late 1962); afterwards, he led his own octet, which continued to flourish intermittently through the 1970s and 1980s and included, at various times, Ray Warleigh, Peter King, Dick Morris–sey, and Hank Shaw. He also freelanced with Tommy Whittle and others; played at Ronnie Scott’s with Roland Kirk (1966) and Freddie Hubbard (1967); and toured with Hubbard. As a composer, Burch’s most famous piece was “Preach and Teach” which was a hit for R&B singer Geòrgie Fame in 1966, and was later recorded by Buddy Rich for his album Mercy, Mercy (1968). He taught regularly at jazz summer schools including the Barry Summer School (1975) and the NYJO Easter Jazz Course (1974). In the mid–1970s, he was occasionally leading a trio, octet, or quintet. He often worked with Ray Warleigh, Kathy Stobart (from around 1978), and Geòrgie Fame. In 1980–81, he toured and recorded with Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson. He worked regularly in Dick Morrissey’s Quartet from the mid–1980s through to the 1990s, and remains active freelancing.


d. rendell:Roariri (1961); “Preach and Teach” (1966)

—Lewis Porter