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Vinnie Burke

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Pcocobass, Jul 25, 2005.


  1. Pcocobass

    Pcocobass

    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    Anyone hip to Vinnie Burke? I have one record called "Bass by Pettiford/Burke." It features Burke's band and OP's band (each for one side of the original LP). I'd like to get more info and recordings of Vinnie - he's killin'. Any suggestions on recordings or websites to check out? I know he did some stuff with Tal Farlow...
     
  2. The stuff w. Tal Farlow is the best place to start.I guess at some point Vinnie lost a finger on his right hand working a day job in a factory.He also may be the first jazz cat to use Metal strings .Check out his tone.Very metalic for the late 50;s /early 60's.
     
  3. I used to get Vinnie and Harry Babasin confused.
    Did Vinnie play some jazz cello too? I know Harry did. Was it Harry or Vinnie that had the "Jazz Pickers"?
    They were kinda in the same time period and both were West Coasters right?
    I know we have a Harry Babasin thread going right know.
    I didn't know about the loss of the finger......you learn just about everything you need to know on TBDB!
     
  4. Pcocobass

    Pcocobass

    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    I heard that Vinnie had lost a finger and I think he was originally a guitarist. I think he lived in Jersey.
     
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Up until recently, yeah. He passed in Feb. 2002.
    My favorite Vinnie Burke story - he had a duo gig (Hickory House?) with theory maven/ pianist Jon Mehegan. Apparently Mehegan was an inveterate rusher, EVERYTHING would pick up and Vinnie was getting tired of holding the fort. So one night he decided to "go with the flow"; every time Mehegan would push the tempo, Vinnie would push it even more. By the time they got to the head out, it's getting too fast for Mehegan to play so he turns over his shoulder and hisses sternly "You're rushing!" To which Vinnie, with a huge grin plasetered on his face, replies, "Yeah. How do you like it?"
     
  6. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Here's the bio excerpt I have:

    The loss of a finger altered the direction of Vinnie Burke's career. A onetime violinist and guitarist, an injury he suffered during World War II forced him to shift to bass. He worked with Joe Mooney and Tony Scott, then played with pianist Cy Coleman for three years.
    He spent a brief period with The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, then played with Marian McPartland, recording with her in 1953. He led his own bands after that into the '80s.
    These were mainly small combos which would work with top jazz players. Burke also made solo dates, and sessions with John Mehegn, Chris Connor, Eddie Costa, Tal Farlow, Don Elliott and Gil Melle, as well as Vic Dickenson, Bucky Pizzarelli, Mat Mathews and Bobby Hackett.
    ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide
     
  7. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    Seattle
    +1

    Try "The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow" -- cool album with some great bass solos. It's a trio with Eddie Costa on piano.
    Vinnie's tone on bass always reminds me of Harry's (and OP's) cello tone. It sounds like jazz cello tuned down. Something about that metallic twang.
     
  8. Pcocobass

    Pcocobass

    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    Mike, now that you mention it...I think I've heard that album. Thanks for reminding me. I'm definately gonna pick it up...

    I also like your assessment of his tone - that's a good analogy.
     
  9. STRONGBOW

    STRONGBOW

    Aug 26, 2005
    I always dug Vinnie Burke because his solos always sounded VERY much like Wilbur Ware, whose solos always killed me. I often wondered whether Vinnie Burke was trying to emulate Wilbur. In a blindfoldtest he might be mistaken for Ware....
     
  10. This is the only film I could find of Vinnie Burke. Check out his left hand. Looks like his left pinky is not functional. He uses his 3rd finger instead.

     
  11. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Holy crap, what a riot! That's some hilarious stuff right there.

    I recently picked up an interesting Chris Connor 10" (original Bethlehem BCP 1002) that Vinnie's on and he sounds pretty solid. I also have the Tal Farlow disc Michael Glynn mentioned above.
     
  12. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    In that video he must be using a high C string on his bass. Notice how he's getting those high notes in the lower positions.

    - Steve
     
  13. Looks like he's A D G C and it's sounds that way. He's doesn't play below the low Bb on this. What's jazz cello tuning anyway? Real punchy sound on that bass. What is it?




    EDIT- Vinnie's not the only PERSON here playing UPSIDE down......................
     
  14. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Usually EADG, one octave higher than the double bass. At least that's what Oscar Pettiford, Ray Brown and Percy Heath did.

    - Steve
     
  15. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I thought there was something unique about the sound he gets. Wonder if tuning this way had to with him missing his left hand pinky finger.
     
  16. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    It's hard to see the bass in that video, but it could be a five string Kay with a high C string like the Chubby Jackson model. That's probably more likely than him tuning a four string bass up a fourth with A as his lowest note.

    - Steve
     
  17. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Looks like a five string in these pictures:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    - Steve
     
  18. brendab614

    brendab614

    Jun 7, 2013
    I am one of Vinnie's daughters. What questions do you have? I want to clear up that he did not lose his finger but the use of the finger. A recent article in the New Jersey Jazz Society's magazine has a 9 page interview that my dad and his children completed with a well known documentary writer, Tom Spain. There are lots of stories there as well. I'm happy to hear you enjoy his music. As soon as I learn how the music industry works, stay tuned for some of his unreleased recordings.
     
  19. brendab614

    brendab614

    Jun 7, 2013
    The Kay is the oldest of the three basses he was using as far as I can remember. It is a 5 string and though he often brought his basses to get fixed and tuned, there were times that he played with the workings of the wood to get the sound he wanted.
     
  20. It's great to have you here Brenda. Welcome aboard!