Chris Burn began Trumpet lessons at the age of 6, Piano from the age of 9 and Guitar aged 12. Early experiences include playing in a brass band and untutored tinklings on his Grandmother's Piano. This instrument, over a semitone flat was given to him soon after his sixth birthday. The variety of pitch memory received from an instrument so flat in pitch, coupled with playing a Bb instrument has remained with him to this day.
Following conventional music studies he went to the Guildhall School of Music (briefly), and Surrey University, leaving in 1977 with BMus and MMus degrees. At Surrey he pursued a number of interests, primarily composition and twentieth century music along with a self led interest in Jazz. He formed the Surrey University Jazz Ensemble and played in Robin Maconie's Intuitive Music sessions.
Maconie was a one time assistant of Karlheinz Stockhausen, and taught at Surrey during the 1970s and '80s. The Intuitive Music Group, initially taking its cue from Stockhausen's model was Burn's first experience of improvising outside of the conventions of Jazz and Rock.
Whilst at Surrey he met John Butcher - then studying Physics - and they began a long musical association that continues to this day. Initial shared experiences were playing together in a variety of Jazz groups. In addition, drummer Pete Nykyruj - who sadly died in 2004 - became a regular associate in small and large groups. The Surrey University Jazz Ensemble appeared at the Bracknell Jazz festival on a number of occasions and later, as the Chris Burn Jazz Ensemble, won competitions with Radio London and BBC Radio 2 (1980). For the radio events, along with appearances at the Hammersmith Jazz Festival and the LSE, the band played Burn's arrangements of Mingus pieces, with trumpet soloist Leon Calvert.
The guitarist on these Mingus sessions and on many small group jazz sessions at this time was Pete Coker, a friend from Surrey Days. His enthusiasms for the American and British Free Jazz Scenes of the time, were both infectious and inspiring. Sadly, his death was reported in 2010.
Chris Burn - Piano, Jon Brown - Electric Bass, Gordon Wellard - Drums, Surrey University 1976?
A brochure for the 'Chris Burn Group' with John Butcher, Gordon Wellard, John Corbett, Steve Wick and Bruce Jacobsen.