By Kevin Beaty, Denverite | He’s 101 and still funny. I got to go hang with Charlie Burrell this weekend, the storied musician who broke a color barrier as one of the first classical musicians to play with a major American symphony orchestra. He turns 101 today (October 2nd).

Surrounded by his family, someone asked him if he likes “today’s” music.

“NO,” he responded unironically, though he did elicit some laughs. “That’s my philosophy about today’s music and yesterday’s music. I’m from yesterday and thank God.”

Happy birthday, dude.

— Kevin (@kevinjbeaty)

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Charlie Burrell Turns 101, Doesn’t Much Like Your Whippersnapper Music

He visited the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted in 2017, to celebrate.

Denver resident and bass player Charlie Burrell has long been known as the “Jackie Robinson of music.” Though he may not have been the very first Black musician to play with a major American symphony, his employment with the Denver Symphony Orchestra in 1949 absolutely made him a pioneer in this country. He’s also one of the last living musicians who played Five Points’ Rossonian hotel, back when the neighborhood was a major jazz hub in the west.

Burrell turned 101 years old on Monday. To celebrate, his family organized five days’ worth of visits and reunions; COVID-19 made it hard to go anywhere for his 100th birthday celebration. On Saturday, they made a trip to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which inducted Burrell in 2017. It was his first trip to the hall of fame, so he finally had the opportunity to see his face on the display honoring him.

Read the whole story here:

Charlie Burrell

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