(c) Big Joe Burrell - To order CD, just click.

"Big" Joe Burrell

1924 - 2005

"Teardrops Falling" written, performed
and co-produced by "BIG" JOE BURRELL.
From "BIG" JOE's final CD "
I'm a lucky so and so..."
released May 26, 2005

Streamed by permission of Executive Producer:
Chuck Eller

Casey Rea's (Seven Days) music review is here.

"BIG" JOE BURRELL passed away on February 2, 2005.

(c) Glenn Russell photo

Larry McCrorey and "Big" Joe Burrell

TO ORDER: Big Joe Burrell's CD "I'm A Lucky So and So" click here; or Unknown Blues Band's previous recordings, Paul Asbell's latest CDs, or Anneli Blume on "Even Kids Get The Blues", click here.

Coming 2007 - "Big" Joe Burrell
life-size bronze statue !
Concept Drawing - (c) Chris Sharp "The public art review panel for the Big Joe Burrell statue has commissioned Chris Sharp to design and execute a life-size, bronze statue in celebration of Big Joe Burrell's life. It will be sited on the Church St. Marketplace near Halvorson's Upstreet Cafe. It is currently slated for installation by Jazz Festival 2007." Sara Katz, Burlington City Arts, 2/6/2006


February 2 - 1st anniversary of "Big" Joe's passing. "Big" Joe's Memorial DVD released.

February 6 - Burlington City Arts releases Chris Sharp's "Concept Drawing" of commissioned life-size bronze statue slated for 2007 Jazz Festival.

February 8 - "Big" Joe's birthdate - he would have been 82-years young.

February 9 - NEWSMAKERS -" A Birthday Bash for Joe - It's been a year since Burlington lost Big Joe Burrell but he's by no means forgotten. He'll be remembered during his birthday week at his favorite musical haunt, Halvorson's Upstreet Cafe on Church Street, with a gig from 8-11pm Thursday by the band that had been known as Big Joe Burrell and Friends. According to Halvorson's manager, Dan Charland, the band will be joined by a few other notable Burlington musicians, including DAVE GRIPPO, PAUL ASBELL, and JOHN RIVERS. Burrell died last February at age 80. He would have celebrated his 82nd birthday this week." - (C) Burlington Free Press Staff, 2/8/2006

February 9 - Halvorson's Upstreet Cafe - 8-11pm: Special tribute to "Big" Joe including 50-foot photo montage depicting 60-years of Joe's life in full color plus video excerpts from "Big" Joe's Memorial Service held on May 29, 2005.

February 10 - Burlington WINTERFEST Blues Carbaret - Boathouse: Jenni Johnson 6:30-9:30pm. Special tribute to "Big" Joe including 50-foot photo montage depicting 60-years of Joe's life in full color plus video excerpts from "Big" Joe's Memorial Service held on May 29, 2005.

October 25 - Seven Days Update: "Size Matters" by Kevin J. Kelley - [print link] ...

The struggle to raise funds for this example of Sharp's work has recently gained some momentum, says Toni Trombley, chair of the 10-person committee charged with bringing the vision to fruition. Nearly $30,000 is now committed. Contributors have been coming forward in larger numbers since it was made clear that this piece of public art is not being 100-percent underwritten by the public, Trombley notes.

However, the City of Burlington is the source of the single-largest gift - $5000 - so far given to the Big Joe Burrell Statue Fund. Burlington City Arts has also donated the time Katz has spent on the project in the year and a half since it was launched.

Trombley, the partner of Burrell's nephew Leon Burrell, says she's still hopeful the money will be raised in time to ensure that an unveiling takes place as planned during next June's Discover Jazz Festival. What's needed now, she says, is for "a big underwriter or two to step up, whether an individual or a corporation." ...

A fitting tribute?

"Thanks for the memories" to "Big" Joe Burrell -- doesn't even come close. Unknown Blues Band? A refreshing melodic oxymoron if ever there was one.

Tens of thousands of Vermonters will remember "Big" Joe Burrell and the Unknown Blues Band in over 100,000 different ways.

Let's honor legendary "Big" Joe Burrell, his family and his legacy by naming the Burlington Boathouse after him and erect a life-size statue. Imagine the huge sign reading: "Big" Joe Burrell's Boathouse -- just the thought of it makes me smile!

For more years than I can recall, "Big" Joe and innumerable "Guests" jammed at the Boathouse almost every Fourth of July while tens of thousands listened and watched the fireworks. "Big" Joe's fireworks!

I also fondly remember "Big" Joe at the 2003 Mardi Gras parade in Burlington, proudly smiling from the center of his float and tossing out inflated saxophones to the children. "Big" Joe was happy to do it, eager to please and full of life.

Perhaps, too, either Barre's Rock of Ages Corp. (how appropriate) and/or members of the Barre Granite Association will deem it worthy to create and donate a full sized statue of "Big" Joe for all Vermonters to reflect upon. The enormous positive impact "Big" Joe has unselfishly and lovingly provided Vermont and the world must not be forgotten.

Heaven is all the more richer with "Big" Joe Burrell in his eternal gig --
God's blues band.


Printed in the Burlington Free Press, February 11, 2005

I'm pleased to inform you that on February 15, 2005 the City Councilors of Burlington voted to enact the suggestions in the above Letter to the Editor. The boathouse has been "symbolically" renamed the "BIG" JOE BURRELL Burlington Community Boathouse and it is anticipated that by the 2006 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival (June), a life-sized statue of "BIG" JOE will be in place either on Church Street or at the waterfront.

The Burlington City Arts has issued a "Call to Artists" to produce a public art project memorializing BIG JOE BURRELL.
Submissions due: July 15, 2005
DETAILS are here.

The Burlington Free Press has an entire special online news section dedicated to "BIG" JOE.

"BIG" JOE's obituary in the Burlington Free Press, February 6, 2005 ~ remembrance letters of February 11, 2005.

"BIG" JOE's obituary in the Akron, OH Beacon Journal, February 9, 2005 ~ online Guestbook entries.

Seven Days cover story, "Ode To "Big" Joe" week of February 9, 2005.

Vermont's Congressman, Bernie Sanders, calls "BIG" JOE Vermont's Great Jazz Master in his extended remarks in the US House of Representatives in Washington DC on March 1, 2005. (Recounting Brent Hallenbeck's BFP article)

A very special Memorial Service was held for "BIG" JOE on May 26, 2005 in Burlington.

The 2005 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival has been dedicated to "BIG" JOE.

"...This year's festival will be dedicated to "Big" Joe Burrell, the legendary Burlington saxophone player who died Feb. 2 and who played numerous shows during each festival. Mayor Peter Clavelle said a scholarship will be created this year in Burrell's memory to help a student pursuing jazz, and a Burrell sculpture will be finished in time for the 2006 festival. "We are going to miss 'Big' Joe," Clavelle said. ..." (See - 9 Days, Nights of Jazz)

(c) Sandy Combs Click to see the Governor's Proclamation
Governor Jim Douglas issued a Proclamation declaring the Opening Day of the 2005 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival (June 3, 2005) as "BIG JOE BURRELL Day" throughout Vermont and presented it to Dr. Leon Burrell, "BIG" JOE's nephew on June 2, 2005 in the ceremonial room of the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier.
(c) Sandy Combs Click to see the Governor's Proclamation

In appreciation of Governor Douglas' recognition of "BIG" JOE's talent and contribution to Vermont, Dr. Leon Burrell gave Gov. Douglas an autographed copy of his book which is "Big" Joe's autobiography, We Call Him "Big" Joe ~ Big Horn, Big Soul, Big Man: A Musician's Odyssey ~ Memoirs of "Big" Joe Burrell.

(c) Sandy Combs Click to see the Governor's Proclamation click to see "We Call Him Big Joe"

The Unknown Blues Band and Guests will be performing numerous special tributes to "BIG" JOE throughout the coming months; June 23rd with "Friends of Big Joe" (Halvorson's - Burlington),

July 3rd with Special Guests: Jennie Johnson, Tammy Fletcher, Kip Meaker, Dave Grippo & 11-year old Anneli Blume ("Big" Joe Burrell Community Boathouse - FIREWORKS!),

Jenni Johnson
Tammy Fletcher
Kip Meaker
Dave Grippo
Anneli Blume - Even Kids Get The Blues


July 4th with Guest: Tammy Fletcher (Bristol), July 19th with Guest: Sandra Wright (Castleton), July 30th with Guest: Sandra Wright (Centennial Field - Burlington).

Other local fans publicly share their personal memories of BIG JOE. (BFP ~ June 5, 2005)

TO ORDER: Big Joe Burrell's CD "I'm A Lucky So and So" click here; or Unknown Blues Band's previous recordings, Paul Asbell's latest CDs, or Anneli Blume on "Even Kids Get The Blues", click here.

READ: Unknown Blues Band's June 2005 Newsletter online here.

©2005 Sandy Combs - All rights reserved.