Jazz in the Park finishes the first half of its third year tonight with the John Burnette Band.
John Burnette is a Singer, Songwriter, and Guitarist from Little Rock who combines his background in Folk, Jazz, Rock, and Blues to create a familiar yet searching blend of music that draws on his past musical experiences.
He spent the first years of his life growing up in Mountain View: the “Folk Music Capitol of the World,” in a community dedicated to supporting and continuing the tradition of live music and storytelling, which paved the way for him to learn how to play the guitar. He moved to Little Rock at age 11 with his mother and began performing at the age of 14 in open blues jams early on, then graduated to playing with various rock bands from Arkansas Tennessee. Upon graduating high school, he received a scholarship to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and holds a degree in Music with an emphasis in Jazz Guitar Studies and Entrepreneurship.
During college, he formed a Jazz group with Bassist Michael Lavender and Drummer Adam Tompkins and has been performing regularly with them since 2008. After graduation, John took on vocal duties in the band to a surprisingly warm audience reception and began writing and arranging tunes for the group. Soon after, they formed The John Burnette Band and began performing their original material. “It was a really interesting and unnerving experience going from being solely a guitar player to tackling the new territory of singing and writing tunes, but the response was really encouraging and it became a really enjoyable creative outlet that has opened up a lot more aesthetic possibilities for us,” says John. They are in the process of writing and recording their debut EP and stay busy in the meantime playing with various acts throughout the state.
Michael Lavender has a background playing Metal, Jazz, Funk, Blues, and Rock and is as proficient on a stand-up bass as he is an electric. Mike holds a degree in Bass Performance from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Adam Tompkins has been playing drums in Blues, Rock, Folk and Jazz bands as well as percussion ensembles since his teenage years and has a minor in Music focusing on percussion. “I couldn’t have been blessed with a better group of guys to play with. They have such varied backgrounds and are extremely competent in their own rights, but having them together creates an atmosphere that is really conducive to trying new things and being able to go in just about any direction we want. They’re so easy to communicate with and it’s a real blessing,” says John.
The concert will be from 6pm to 8pm in the History Pavilion in Riverfront Park. The closest entry point to the History Pavilion is Ottenheimer Drive off of President Clinton Avenue.
In case of rain, the River Market West Pavilion will be the alternate location for the event.
The event is completely free, but no coolers are allowed. Beer, wine, soft drinks and water will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit Art Porter Music Education, Inc.’s scholarship fund. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, and there is some seating in the natural stone amphitheater at the History Pavilion.
This event is sponsored by Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the River Market.
For more information about Art Porter Music Education, visit www.artporter.org.