Charlie Burrell is a music legend. He is the 'Jackie Robinson' of Classical Music. Charlie is loved by generations of both jazz and classical music devotees.
In 1949 Charlie joined the Denver Symphony as the first person of color under contract with a major orchestra. In 1959 he moved to San Francisco to become the first person of color in the San Francisco Orchestra. I Charlie's 60+ years as a professional musician, he played for conductors including Arthur Fiedler and Pierre Monteux. He has also worked with the who's who of jazz greats--appearing on stage with the likes of Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, and Lionel Hampton.
He has great stories to tell about critical times in his life. How many people can tell stories about Lionel Hampton, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday--at the same time telling about Arthur Fiedler, Pierre Monteux, and Isaac Stern? Only Charlie Burrell!
The Life of Charlie Burrell is no simple story of the triumph of will over oppression, or of an angel who always did the right thing in the face of unending adversity and evil. Burrell's stories weave a more complex tale of inner strength borne in the crucible of an amazing family, fired by intense ambition and hard work, and catalyzed by a series of mentors--both black and white--from whom Charlie learns important lessons, both intended and unintended.
Charlie Burrell's life story provides insight into the character of a man who spent almost 30 years pursuing his dream but sought neither fame nor fortune.