Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ABRAHAM BURTON/ ERIC MCPHERSON an artistic brotherhood lasting about ten years

"Abraham Burton and Eric Mcpherson have come to prominence both as apprentices to key figures in creative music. Burton with drum legends Arthur Taylor, Roy Haynes & Louis Hayes. McPherson with legendary saxophonist, Jackie McLean and innovative pianist and composer, Andrew Hill. Together they produce a sound that is connected to the broad creative template of jazz history and thrive in the continuum of contemporary music."

“If the young saxophonist Abraham Burton was ever to be drawn in a cartoon, he’d have flames coming out of his saxophone. His solos are powerful and creative. He began developing his natural skills by attending Hartford's Hartt School of Music where he learned well from talented artists like Michael Carvin and Jackie McLean." (

"Eric McPherson is at the vanguard of his generation's creative music drummers. His command of multiple percussion instruments is matched by the originality, electricity, versatility and sensitivity he adds to the continuum of the music. New York saxophonist Abraham Burton's music has been called exquisite jazz. His solos are powerful and creative."

Neo-Bop/Post-Bop/Straight-Ahead Jazz

"abraham burton eric mc pherson"

ABRAHAM BURTON - Closest To The Sun (1994)

Abraham Burton - Alto Sax, Producer
Eric McPherson - Drums, Producer
Marc Cary ( - Piano
Billy Johnson - Bass
Michael Marciano ( - Engineer
Jimmy Katz ( - Photography
Gust William Tsilis ( - Producer
Elisabeth Winckelmann - Design
Matthias Winckelmann (Enja Records Co-founder, see: - Executive Producer


01 Minor March
02 Laura
03 E=MC
04 Romancing You
05 So Gracefully
06 Corrida de Toros
07 Left Alone
08 Closest to the Sun
09 So Gracefully (Radio Version)

Link to download:

"This man is a refreshing new sound in the jazz world. He remind me of
a young Coltrane developing a new style in the 90's and the 2000's. I suggest if you like music on the style of " My Favorite Thing" , then you should listen to this man."

"Burton's sound and approach is scintillating! This album, like The Magician, is a riveting and jolting musical experience! It brings relief at a time when many musicians are conforming to immitation of late jazz rather than innovation. This recording is inspiring to the spirit and awakens passion within. Seeing him live is unforgettable however."

"Mr. Burton should be of proud his "four" fathers John Coltrane, Dizzy, Miles and Monk Sphere. His creative yet Lustful Rhythm apply to all that these gentilman were trying to settle in there times, spirit color and consciousness. My Brother I'll give "you" the Phases. Just keep on creating. The Heavens ring with joy, When Abraham Burton sounds his Horn. Yes sir, a star is born and he is "Closest to the sun"."

"In 1994, Burton released his debut LP, "Closest to the Sun", recorded by ENJA. This collection includes a wonderful instrumental version of the Mat Waldron classic "Left Alone" (often sung by Abbey Lincoln), which instantly won over the public. The alto saxophonist, born in 1971 and taught by Jackie McLean, has the potential to develop a unique voice."

More review:

ABRAHAM BURTON - The Magician (1995)

Abraham Burton - Alto Saxophone
Eric McPherson - Drums
Marc Cary ( and Piano
Billy Johnson ( - Bass
Matthias Winckelmann (Enja Records Co-founder, see: - Producer
Jimmy Katz ( - Photography
Wolfgang Meyscheider - Mastering

Recorded live at Visiones, New York, New York on March 17 & 18, 1995. Includes liner notes by K. Leander Williams


01 I Can't Get Started
02 Little Melonae
03 Addition to the Family, An
04 Dedicated to You
05 Mari's Soul
06 Gnossienne #1
07 The Magician

Link to download:

"...Abraham Burton is one of the more striking young jazz musicians on record today. His passion is unmistakable and the rhythmic drive and heartfelt saxophone concept he is evolving is like a good stiff jolt, like a hit of vinegar in your collard greens..."

"Abraham Burton, along with the personnel that is featured on this album, brings forth a passionate and powerful presentation of MUSIC at its finest. With a great balance of ballads and upbeat rhythmical tunes, Burton proves to be a formidable contender in today's jazz scene."

More review:

JAMES HURT - Dark Grooves - Mystical Rhythms (1999)

"Pianist/composer James Hurt makes “spirit-cosmic” jazz deeper than Atlantis, higher than Kilimanjaro."

James Hurt ( and - Piano
Abraham Burton - Alto Saxophone
Eric McPherson - Drums
Nasheet Waits - Drums
Russell Gunn ( and - Trumpet
Antonio Hart ( and - Sopran Sax
Sherman Irby ( and - Alto Saxophone
Greg Tardy ( and - Tenor Sax
Jacques Schwarz-Bart ( and - Tenor Sax
Robin Eubanks ( and - Trombone
Eric Revis ( and - Double Bass
Francois Moutin ( and - Bass
Ari Hoenig ( and - Drums
Dana Murray ( - Drums
Elizabeth Kantumanou ( - vocal chant on "Waterfall."
Eli Wolf ( - Producer / Brian Bacchus ( -Executive Producer
Burton Yount (Art Director, Blue Note Records) - Art Direction, Design
Katsuhiko Naito - Editing, Mastering
David Baker ( and - Engineer, Mixing/ Dan Gellert ( -Engineer


01 Neptune
02 Tree of Life
03 Waterfall
04 Mars
05 Jupiter
06 Eleven Dreams
07 Venus
08 Dark Nines
09 Faith
10 Pyramids
11 Orion's View
12 Sun Day

Link to download:

"For his first recording session as a leader, pianist James Hurt creates quite a rhythmic stir. Performing his own compositions, Hurt steers his piano trio and guests in a modern mainstream program that features drummers. Polyrhythms and frequent changes in meter or tempo keep the listener on the edge of his seat, while familiar structures, such as a New Orleans shuffle or calypso, duck in and out of the formula. Hurt’s bassists employ the acoustic stand-up bass, helping to capture a mood that has roots in the tradition and branches in the avant-garde. Each drummer presents his free patterns with taste; there are no backbeats or ungainly repetitive strides. Frequent ostinati from bass and piano allow the drummer to step up and create interesting solo passages. Guest saxophonists lend melody; there are three at once on "Waterfall."

Highly recommended, Hurt’s album ranges from smooth melody to harsh outside music, sometimes within the same piece. "Eleven Dreams," for instance, comes across as outright avant-garde at the start, then evolves into a loping blues. Similarly, each of the pianist’s arrangements allows for variety and passion that takes off in an impressive outing for a jazz newcomer. Style: Straightahead/Mainstream/Bop/Hard Bop/Cool"

"Pianist James Hurt's Blue Note debut, Dark Grooves, Mystical Rhythms, shows that the young pianist is adept not only in his heavily percussive and rhythmic soloing style, but also in crafting intricate compositions out of the varied rhythms found all over the disc. With 12 original Hurt compositions, the album is stocked with a mix of seasoned (though young) veterans and some of New York's freshest talent: alto saxophonists Antonio Hart and Abraham Burton, drummers Eric McPherson and Nasheet Waits, and bassist Eric Reevis, among many others, all make appearances in lineups that range from trio settings to full-blown septet arrangements. But the star of the show here is the groove, which Hurt does a masterful job of employing. His achievement is in building tunes from the ground up, starting with the syncopated funk groove of "Neptune" or the reggae-to-Latin bounce of "The Tree of Life" and building intricate arrangements around each rhythm. The end result is that Dark Grooves, Mystical Rhythms is that rare jazz album that employs funk grooves but doesn't come across sounding like a forced hybrid--instead, the rhythms here flow naturally and all sound like integral parts of each tune. --Ezra Gale"

"I can't believe this guy is only twenty years old! This bombastic record of pungent groove and cosmic vibe will introduce you to a rythmic circus that'll blow you away! This product of New York's freshest most exciting talent is a definite must! "

"Every time I hear this CD something new stands out. This is not some groove album, although it could be used for that. The music is intelligently done. The range of styles James Hurt plays seamlessly on this CD just blew me away. He is definitely not afraid to fly. Most of the songs begin with the rhythm, so you may not understand the ebb and flow of the songs from hearing the 30 second clips. However, if you appreciate music that takes you on a journey, you will probably love this CD. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have."

More review:



"It is one of the finest examples of post-Trane quartet jazz I have ever heard. Everything about it cooks and is on a 5 star level."

Abraham Burton - Tenor Saxophone, Producer
Eric McPherson - Drums
James Hurt ( and - Piano
Yosuke Inoue ( - Bass
Ingo Wulff - Graphic Design
Arne Reimer - Photography
Written By James Hurt (tracks 01, 06), Abraham Burton (tracks 02, 04, 05), Eric McPherson (track 03)
Recorded at Bleecker Street Studio, New York on July 21, 1998.

"Punta Lullaby"


01 Nebulai
02 Dad
03 Cause And Effect
04 Forbidden Fruit
05 Punta Lullaby
06 The Last Laugh

Link to download:

More info:

"Abraham's 1998 recording entitled "Cause and Effect", is an independent project in collaboration with renowned drummer and friend, Eric McPherson. The band, under the name "Forbidden Fruit", features James Hurt on piano and Yosuke Inoue on bass. Recent reviews in the New York Times places them as formidable contenders in the contemporary jazz scene. " (

"Forbidden Fruit, a collective band made up of Abraham Burton on saxophones, James Hurt on piano, Yosuke Inoue on bass and Eric McPherson on drums, is all about hurtling power and velocity."( and

"Obsessed fans of John Coltrane’s classic quartet are forever searching for that pure energy that Trane, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison and McCoy Tyner bottled for a short time. Their music was perhaps the pinnacle of jazz’s most dynamic period. Few have tread the same path for fear of comparison and ultimately failure. Enter Abraham Burton and Eric McPherson. The two young men play jazz music with no fear.

Born three months apart, Burton studied under Jackie McLean, and McPherson became the fiery one’s drummer. Burton went on to learn his craft under legendary jazz Wailer Arthur Taylor. Both Taylor (now deceased) and McLean knew the art of he heavy-bop, passing its secrets and discipline on. Our young heroes recorded two albums The Magician and Closest To The Sun in the mid-1990s. Raw musically and beholden to their mentors, the first two efforts with Burton on alto saxophone were derivative but hopeful. Pianist Marc Carey left the band, to burn his own brand of bop (check him out) and Burton/McPherson reformed. This time, with Burton picking up the tenor saxophone and finding his voice.

Cause And Effect burns with that 1960’s jazz mentality on the verge of the ‘new thing’ in music. Burton/McPherson plus Yosuke Inuoe (bass) and James Hurt (piano) cut open an emotional torrent that carries through to Burton’s ballad “Dad.” Like Coltrane (who started on alto), Burton’s tone mines the upper register and applies speed when he deems the need. If we had to chart his horn, he would be descended from Trane through Pharoah Sanders and Eddie Harris. This quartet playing original music makes as strong a statement as any working group today. Listeners hungry for more Coltrane can find it right here."

"The album's spirituality-soaked sound attains its buoyancy and gravity through the group's striking rhythmic fluency....thriving on infectious, hypnotic and shape-shifting vamps..."

"Abraham Burton's confidence is mesmerizing in this volcanic set. Teamed up with long time friend drummer, Eric McPherson, whose exuberance burns like a furnace of melodic chaos and passion. Pianist James Hurt plays the "straight man" to these two pillars of energy, anchored by the consistent heartbeat bass of Yosuke Inoue. Be unafraid to give in wholly to this excellent example of where jazz is going. Thank You fella's. I look forward to seeing you live."

More review: (German) (Norwegen)


Abraham Burton - Alto Sax, Tenor Sax
James Carter ( Tenor Sax (Tracks 04,05,09)
James Hurt (see above)- Piano
Yousuke Inoue ( - Bass
Eric McPherson - Drums


01 Pithecanthropus Erectus
02 Rio
03 Salsamba
04 Just The Two Of Us
05 Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
06 Drifting Inward
07 On A Clear Day
08 A Song For My Teacher
09 Just Friends
10 Dad

Link to download:

In 2000 Yosuke Inoue made a second leader album under his own name and Abraham Burton titled"Drifting Inward"(M&I Records) and toured with same group as recording. His group all over the world.

Actually the line up is the same as on "Cause And Effect" , except James Carter who was a guest muscian here. So if you like "Cause and Effect" and expect the same sound and the excellent quality of playing, than you won't be disappointed at all. They are killing throughout the entire album. Don't miss it!

"A collective band that features Abraham Burton on saxophone, James Hurt on piano, Yosuke Inoue on bass and Eric McPherson on drums. Given the players' pasts, this one looks like it's going to have some volume. Mr. Burton is a volcanic improviser, and he brings more proof to the table that the young mainstream is historically deep; his solos move across jazz history into free improvisation. And Mr. Hurt is one of the youth brigade's more innovative improvisers, with a blues-based, tempo-changing sense that is striking. There's no lack of imagination in the band. "( )

More review:

ERIC MCPHERSON - Continuum (2008)

Eric McPherson - Drums
Abraham Burton - Tenor, Alto, Soprano Saxophone and Flute
David Bryant ( - Piano
Dezron Douglas ( - Bass
John Hebert ( and - Bass
Shimrit Shoshan ( and - Rhodes (track 04)
Carla Cherry - Vocal (track 03)
Trevor Todd - Yirdaki (track 03)
Producer & Engineering - Eric McPherson, Luke Kaven (producer and owner of Smalls Records, see:
Painting - Trevor Todd
Photography/Design/Mastering - Luke Kaven (
Mixing - Barry Komitor
Mastering - Luke Kaven
Production Assistant - Lana Bortolot


01 3rio Suite part (a) Mr. Hill
02 3rio Suite part (b) Of Mind
03 Misako
04 Black Pearl
05 The Collective Expression
06 De Javu Monk

Buy here:

"Drummer Eric McPherson's auspicious recording debut as a leader is a crowning achievement for the former student of Jackie McLean (who also worked in the late alto saxophonist's band) and sideman of Andrew Hill. His band includes old friend Abraham Burton, a talented saxophonist with whom the drummer has played since childhood, bassists John Hebert and Dezron Douglas (heard jointly and individually), and pianist David Bryant. The two-part "3rio Suite" is a pianoless suite, featuring Burton's searching soprano sax and Hebert's droning arco bass complemented by McPherson's sensitive drumming. The exotic "Misako" is a quintet featuring one bassist playing arco and the other pizzicato, with Burton's lyrical flute playing in octave unison with the arco line. "Black Pearl" features Carla Cherry's spoken narrative, backed by the leader and Trevor Todd's droning yidaki (which sounds much like a didgeridoo). Shimrit Shoshan is on Fender Rhodes (replacing Bryant's piano) for the simmering rendition of McLean's "The Collective Expression." But it is Eric McPherson's engaging percussion that leaves the most lasting impression."

"An onion analogy is especially apt when describing the New York jazz scene. Layers exist within layers with players routinely moving between them as collaborative ventures expand and ebb. Drummer Eric McPherson is a member of the Smalls circle, that loose cadre of creative musicians that operated out of the eponymous club in the Nineties. His musical activities also included a 15-year apprenticeship with Jackie McLean and a briefer tenure with Andrew Hill just prior to the pianist’s passing. McPherson also helps run MPI Studio, a performance/recording space owned by Nasheet Waits that also serves as the disc’s birthing place. MPI stands for Multi-Percussion Instrumentalist and it doubles as a fitting encapsulation of McPherson’s approach to the drumkit, polyrhythmic, with a fluid touch that consistently merges power and grace. His rhythms and fills feel full without miring in uncessary clutter or resorting to attention-grabbing bashing. All of the aforementioned experiences funnel positively into this debut disc as a leader and suggest that the date was well past due.

McPherson sequences the program like a lean LP, keeping the music corraled to the span of two vinyl sides. The relative economy still leaves time enough to pack in a manifold summary of his interests starting with the two-part “3rio Suite” in the company of saxophonist and childhood friend Abraham Burton and bassist John Hebert. Burton’s soprano almost sounds like a musette voicing slithery modal patterns against the surging oceanic backdrop built by Hebert and McPherson. Hebert seizes on a deep groove in the piece’s second part, the gritty snap of his strings heightening to intensity of the interplay. “Misako” nods to Hill in its dark chordal structure and the addition of second bassist Dezron Douglas. The tandem makes a second appearance on the disc closing “De Javu Monk” stoking a fair bit of pizzicato steam beneath Burton’s slowly boiling Wayne Shorter-inspired phrasings. Rounding out the program are “Black Pearl”, which teams McPherson’s kit with Trevor Todd’s yirdaki (didjeridu) as accompaniment for an anecdotal spoken recitation in memory of the drummer’s mother, and a rundown of the McLean tune “The Collective Expression” that carries fusionary touches in the presence of Rhodes and a patina of electronic echo around Burton’s alto. A lengthy gestation period makes for fully mature work and McPherson’s album certainly proves such to be so."

More review:

New York saxophonist Abraham Burton's music has been called exquisite jazz. His solos are powerful and creative. He began developing his natural skills by attending Hartford's Hartt School of Music where he learned well from talented artists like Michael Carvin and Jackie McLean. Burton graduated from the school with a B.A. in music and a new love for the work of jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong and Lester Young. In 1992, the young Burton became a member of the Wailers, a jazz band headed by longtime artist Arthur Taylor. The group released two albums together. They also did a number of tours through Europe. Burton left the Wailers by 1994 to form his own band. With pianist Marc Cary, Eric McPherson on drums, and bassist Billy Johnson, Burton released his debut album, Closest to the Sun, in 1994 under the ENJA record label. The group toured Europe many times, performing at the North Sea Festival, the Leverkusen Festival, the Moers Festival, and many others along the way. With his career on a clear path, Burton released his next album, The Magician, in 1996. In 1998, he collaborated with drummer Eric McPherson, bassist Yosuke Inoue, and pianist James Hurt to release Cause and Effect. McPherson, Inoue, and Hurt stayed on for the next album as well, titled Forbidden Fruit.

"Abraham Burton - of Belizean descent, is a native of New York. His interest in music began its development at the High School of Music & Art, during which time he was awarded by Downbeat and McDonalds in their Combo Competitions. He later studied under the tutelage of the jazz great, Jackie McLean at the Hartt School of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Music, graduating with honors.

Abraham's professional career as a musician was initiated with the legendary drummer Arthur Taylor. During his five years with “Taylor's Wailers” he recorded on “Mr. A.T.” and “Live at the Village Vanguard” on Enja Records, touring throughout Europe and performing at notable New York clubs such as: The Village Vanguard, Sweet Basil, and Birdland.

Since his time, Abraham has developed a reputation as a veritable professional performing and/or recording with the most prestigious of musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Milt Jackson, Roy Hargrove, Louis Hayes, James Carter, Kenny Barron, and Jimmy Smith to name just a few.

He went on to form a band in '94 entitled “The Abraham Burton Quartet” which recorded “Closest to the Sun” and “The Magician” with Enja Records. The group's talent received worldwide acclaim, allowing them to tour and perform in countries such as Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Holland, Japan, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Virgin Islands. They have also been showcased at venues such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, The Moors Jazz Festival, and the Panasonic Jazz Festival.

Abraham's most recent recording entitled “Rawbone”, is an independent project in collaboration with renowned drummer and friend, Eric McPherson. The band, under the name “Forbidden Fruit”, features James Hurt on piano and Yosuke Inoue on bass. Recent reviews in the New York Times places them as formidable contenders in the contemporary jazz scene.

He is also a member of Elevation Quartet since 2006 :

Closest to the Sun (1994)
The Magician (1995)
Cause & Effect (2000)
Drifting Inward (1998)

More info:


"McPherson’s talents are immediately obvious. He has a level of skill that gives him the facility to travel anywhere, from anywhere, in time, no matter how difficult the move. He’s always listening hard and has heart and soul engaged, and that is reflected in an extraordinary musicality. He’s very articulate, and the dynamics have just the right expressive weight. He can create a small world in there, and summon up the one-man multi-percussion orchestra when he needs to. But he’s never showing off; he can just go wherever the situation calls for"

Born and raised in New York, Eric was immersed in music from birth on: Richard Davis, his godfather and an icon among jazz bassists, was present at his birth. It was Richard who suggested he be named after Eric Dolphy. Before Eric was three months old, his mother��”a superb dancer-choreographer deep in the jazz scene��”was taking him, strapped to her back, to rehearsals and performances. Her wide orbit of friends included lots of drummers, major jazz artists like Max Roach, Michael Carvin, Charles Moffett and Freddie Waits. Small wonder that Eric was beating on pots and pans before he could walk. At three, he told Elvin Jones, another household friend, that he was definitely going to be a drummer.

By the time Eric was eight, he was teaching himself to play on a drum set borrowed from Charles Moffett. At twelve, he started seven years of formal drum studies under Michael Carvin, a master drummer and a brilliant teacher. Within the year, he was jamming with another kid, Abraham Burton (now a major saxophonist). Together, they started doing street performances at anti-apartheid rallies, soon to be joined by young Nasheet Waits (now an up and coming drummer). A year later they were performing on-stage at Barry Harris' Jazz Cultural Theater.

About the same time, Eric was admitted to New York's prestigious LaGuardia High School of the Arts, a school for gifted students. Soon he was selected for the New York All City High School Big Band, making his Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center debuts with the Big Band ��” and winning several Outstanding Soloist Awards.

Upon graduating, his mentor Michael Carvin recommended Eric to Jackie McLean. That led to a full scholarship for attending the Jackie McLean Institute at the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. While still a student at Hartt, Jackie invited Eric to join the Jackie McLean Quintet��”along with Rene McLean, Alan Palmer and Nat Reeves. For the next 15 years, until Jackie's recent death, Eric was his drummer, following in the distinguished footsteps of drummers Michael Carvin, Billy Higgins, Jack DeJohnette and Tony Williams. Over those years, Eric recorded two CDs with Jackie and performed with him at major venues and festivals all over the Far East, Middle East, Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean, and the U.S.

In addition to his touring and recording with Jackie McLean, Eric has also performed with a wide range of major jazz figures, including Pharaoh Sanders, Andrew Hill, Richard Davies, Claudia Acuno, Jason Moran, Greg Osby and Avishai Cohen.

More info:

Abraham Burton and Eric McPherson formed a trio 3rd Eye with Nasheet Waits. 3rd Eye will go into the studio to record this summer. The new album "Future" came out in aug. 2009 (

Another album originally recorded in 2005 but just came out this summer is Aruán Ortiz Quartet - Alameda featuring Eric McPherson and Abraham Burton. Very nice CD, but too fresh to share now. (


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you please replace the link for a free download of "continuum" with a link for purchase of the record? Both the artists and I were heavily invested in this title. Without revenue from it, there can't be any more such titles.

Luke Kaven
Smalls Records

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Luke, yes sure! I have just replaced the link . I didnt want to cause trouble, im sorry for it!


2:08 AM  

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