Five Firsts: Gary Burke of Professor Louie & the Crowmatix

The Crowmatix: (from left) Professor Louie, Frank Campbell, Miss Marie, Josh Colow and Gary Burke

The Crowmatix: (from left) Professor Louie, Frank Campbell, Miss Marie, Josh Colow and Gary Burke

NAME: Gary Burke
BAND AFFILIATION: David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars, Professor Louie & the Crowmatix

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … “Caravan” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Louis Armstrong at the Colonie Coliseum. It was a spiritual epiphany. When things started to really cook, I could see a circle of energy radiate from him to us and back to him – Louis and the audience were on the mothership together.

However, the first “sort of” concert was years earlier when I saw a black gospel revue at a county fair somewhere out in the country. There was a piano player on upright, some gigantic women (I was real little) and a man with a drum. This man with the drum introduced me to the “backbeat.” When I first heard this “backbeat,” it was like a bolt of electricity shot up my spine. For all I knew, I could have been speaking in tongues at that point. I was helpless. I still feel it, like it happened an hour ago.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … an upright piano. I really wanted to learn drums, but my mother said I had to learn a “musical instrument” first. It actually formed my approach to the drums: melody first, rhythm second. She was a visionary.


5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Don’t remember the name, but it was the classic instrumentation of the day: bass, drums, guitar and sax (see #4 above). And, yes, we had matching sport jackets.

Drummer Gary Burke has played with everyone from Bob Dylan to Shania Twain, from Joe Jackson to the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra. He’ll be pumping out the beat with his bandmates in Professor Louie & the Crowmatix at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 8pm on Saturday. Tix are $20 in advance; $22 at the door.

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