Prior to the Don Burrows Memorial at the Sydney Opera House this Sunday, James Morrison pays tribute to his mentor and lifelong friend, "the most influential and beloved Bondi beach bum in Australian jazz".
It’s not easy to categorise someone like Don Burrows.
Sure, it’s easy to fire off a list of his impressive accolades, like bringing Australian jazz to the global stage, or his countless slots on TV and radio. Plenty of firsts, too: first Australian jazz musician to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival, and the European Montreux Jazz Festival; first Australian jazz artist to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame; and establishing the first ever jazz course in Australia at the renowned Sydney Conservatorium. Overall, an incredibly influential and storied career that paved the way forward for the next generation.
But really, it’s difficult to categorise him because, as staggeringly important as those things are, they aren’t the most truly impactful things he did with his life.
Something that people might not have known about Don, before he passed peacefully in his sleep in March this year, was the incredible human side sitting humbly beneath the accolades. Don was warm, funny, and astoundingly genuine. He always...