Peter Burden14th April 1941 - 27th December 2016

Memories of Pete and a recording of his last gig (below)


The funeral for my very dear friend, wonderful musician and really lovely person, Pete Burden, was held on Tuesday Tues Jan 31st. It was a beautiful ceremony attended by 150 people with poignant eulogies from Paul Zec, Rebecca Mason and Spike Wells and followed by a jam session - wake at JD bar in Hastings. I will miss Pete very much. I first met him about 40 years ago while he was briefly living in Brighton and he got to know many people at that time including my friend Barrie Selwyn who wrote his own eulogy below.

Barry was also at Pete's last gig in Hastings at The Pig in Paradise in October and he managed to record it. Although it is a phone recording you can still appreciate the music and hear that Pete was in fine form. The recordings are posted below the following eulogy.
Terry Seabrook

Memories of Pete Burden by Barrie Selwyn

I met Pete in the autumn of 1976 when he was blowing an absolute storm on ‘Impressions’ at the Richmond Arms in Brighton. I was fascinated by how he could get a battered Buffet to sing like that. My dear honorary older brother Rick Johnson introduced us at bar and there commenced a forty year conversation which usually had three streams – Wittgenstein, Bebop and the Marquis De Sade. I was just starting out in learning the Alto and Pete used to write and hand over jazz licks like a doctor hands out prescriptions. What a mentor! What A teacher and what a player. In many ways he was one of the last of the Mohicans in the days before the educators formularized the music - he was part of the old gang that knew how to delight and surprise. It was amazing seeing my young friends like Terry Seabrook rise to his inspiration. Pete had returned to the south coast having hung out and played with the best up in London – Lionel Grigson, Ray Warleigh and even Jo Harriet.

But Brighton was certainly the second coming for him and Joe Lee Wilson lit the touch paper. I was lucky enough to be at the Hanbury when messrs Adrian Kendon and co had the pleasure of having Joe lay his vocal visiting card. Hearing Pete back Joe lee was one of the most mesmerising jazz combustions I have ever witnessed. From this there followed many gigs and when I moved up to London I had the pleasure and privilege of being able to set up few more gigs over in East London in the pre yuppification days, including a really great concert at the Theatre Royal Stratford. Joe Lee managed to get a week a Ronnies in 1981 for some more unforgettable combustion with Pete.

We drifted out contact for a decade and half and were brought back to together by the sad death of Joe Lee Wilson. The conversation picked up as if it had never been interrupted: daily conversations over the phone about reeds, mouthpieces and makes of horns made us realize that we were both saxophone psychotics. My regular visits to Hastings with the statutory curry lunch or full english have come to an abrupt end and as Wordsworth said ‘ there has past away a glory from this earth’

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