Born: March 22, 1914 Died: May 31, 1980
Unlike keyboardist Reginald "Sonny" Burke, who played modern jazz with Stanley Turrentine, Dizzy Gillespie and John Handy, this Burke was an accomplished big band arranger. He studied violin and piano as a child, then played in various bands while studying at Duke in the late '30s. After moving to New York in 1938, Burke assumed leadership of Sam Donahue's band and made several recordings. He wrote arrangements for the bands of Charlie Spivak and Jimmy Dorsey in the '40s, then from the late '40s into the '70s he directed recording sessions for Decca, Reprise, Warner Bros. and his own company, Daybreak. His orchestra accompanied such musicians as Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, and he remained active as an arranger.