Boorowa born jazz legend Don Burrows passed away on the 12th march at the age of 91.
Don was born into a musical family, with father Bill playing the piano and trumpet and mother Ivy playing piano as well as singing. Bill and Ivy had their own band, playing at dances at the Boorowa Mechanics Institute, Pudman Street and the Town Irish Guild Hall, Marsden Street. They also played at dances at Murringo and Rye Park.
Bill was a baker and worked at Ryan’s Bakery on Pudman Street. In 1933, Bill and Ivy purchased their own bakery in Bondi and consequently the family moved from Boorowa to Bondi, where Don attended school in the eastern suburbs.
Through his love of music, Don became good friends with another Boorowa born musician, James Morrison. Famous trumpeter James resided in Farm Street and attended Boorowa Central School. Don and James entertained together through out Australia as well as on the world stage.
Don met up with a third Boorowa born famous musician, Eric Bryce, at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Both Don and Eric are on the honor roll. Eric composed many of Don’s musical pieces, as well as pieces for the ABC. He was offered a Professor position at the Adelaide University where he lived his final years. Eric lived in Brial Street and also attended Boorowa Central School. Eric credits his success with music to his first tutor, Catholic nun Sister Winifred at St Joseph’s Convent School.
Don was best known for playing the clarinet, but was a multi-instrumentalist who also played the flute and saxophone. He was the recipient of both the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), as well as being inducted into the Aria Music Awards Hall of Fame.
He was best known for his work in the Don Burrows Quarter, comprising of Don, George Gulla on guitar, Ed Gaston on double bass and Alan Turnbull on drums. He played with many world-renowned musicians, including Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, James Morrison, Tony Bennett and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He also fronted the Don Burrows Collection on TV for six years.
During the 60s and 70s, he was the best known jazz musician in Australia, playing many engagements in Australia and the United States.
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