Greg Burk’s highly personal musical approach, grounded in his early years in Detroit, and developed through his numerous collaborations and recordings with jazz masters, places him in the lineage of true jazz innovators.
“Burk’s improvising is lucid, unconventional, on target”Bob Blumenthal, Boston Globe
“Burk is a complete pianist, and he’s intellectually curious enough to exploit the instrument’s total sound-making and emotional capacity”Chris Kelsey, Jazztimes
Greg was born in Lansing, Michigan to parents both active in classical music. His father, Dennis Burk, was an internationally active conductor, and mother Giovanna Colonelli, a lyric soprano and linguist. Greg began playing piano at age 6. At 16, he began frequenting the rich jazz scene in Detroit and began leading his own groups. His talent quickly developed and while still in High School, he was recognized as an outstanding soloist at the Music Fest in Chicago by Down Beat Magazine.
“The young pianist from Detroit has the piano in his heart.”Franco Fayenz, Il Giornale
He enrolled at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst as a composition student. While studying classical composition with Salvatore Macchia, Greg also studied composition and improvisation with Dr. Yusef Lateef, as well as enrolled in Archie Shepp’s African-American music history courses and improvisation laboratories. After graduation, Greg moved to Europe for a year and toured with his trio, appearing in clubs and festivals in Italy, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia.
“Without hesitation, I say that Greg Burk’s record of scholarship is of a sound and artistic substance. His unique ability is complemented by his moral strength and enhanced by his creative substance”Dr. Yusef Lateef, multi-instrumentalist, composer, NEA Jazz Master
Back in Detroit, Burk hit the scene hard, honing his skills as a player with the likes of Rodney Whitaker, Gerald Cleaver, George Goldsmith, Larry Smith, Bobby Battle, Francisco Mora, Steve Wood, Roy Brooks and many other jazz masters living in the city’s historic jazz community. He began leading his own groups at this time and performing his original music for the audiences of the clubs in Detroit.
“Burk plays with the inquisitive drive of an experimentalist yet with the relaxed authority of a mainstreamer allowing his expressive urge to emerge”Claudio Sessa, Musica Jazz
At age 25 he entered the New England Conservatory of Music where he completed a master’s degree studying with George Russell, Danilo Perez, Cecil McBee, Charlie Banacos, Jerry Bergonzi and Paul Bley. He quickly became an in-demand sideman in Boston, as well as a member of the Either/Orchestra with whom he toured Russia, Ethiopia and the USA. At this time, Burk began his career as a recording artist.
“Greg Burk plays too good!”Paul Bley
In 2002, Burk’s debut recording, Checking In, was released on the historic Soul Note label. Since 2002, eleven recordings have been released internationally under Burk’s name on Soul Note, Jazzwerkstatt, 482 Music, Accurate Records, Ra Kalam Records and SteepleChase Records.
“Burk shows astounding richness and fascinating compositions”Jean Marc Gelin, Jazzman
“Burk’s recording Carpe Momentum contains everything a jazz heart could desire: swing, bop, grooves. It is structured and free, virtuoso and emotional.”Jannek Roland Meyer, Jazz Podium
Burk currently lives in Rome. He performs as a solo pianist, in duo, and mostly as the leader of his trio. He has also appeared with Benny Golson, Kenny Wheeler, David Murray, Sheila Jordan, Frank Lacy, Ra Kalam Bob Moses, Rob Mazurek, Carl Craig, Peter King, George Garzone, David Leibman, Gerald Cleaver, Steve Grossman, John Tchicai, Don Moyè, Louis Stewart, Either/Orchestra, Roberto Gatto, Diana Torto, Jerry Bergonzi, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Tiziana Ghilioni, Rossen Zahariev, Steve Swallow, Mulatu Astatke and many others.
“A pianist with a gift for melody and a generous touch”LA Weekly