Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Pete Burden, right.

Jazz Organisation, featuring Pete Burden on alto sax, right. Tony MacDonnell on drums and Dave Appleyard on tenor sax.

In memory of Pete Burden

Saxophonist Pete Burden, a familiar figure to jazz-lovers in Hastings and well beyond, died in hospital last week. Tony Frost, a regular in the audience, writes a short appreciation, provides the pictures and rounds up some of the tributes paid to Pete.

Pete Burden, veteran jazz musician and a friend loved by many, passed away early on Tuesday 27 December in hospital. A grammar school boy who first performed publicly at the age of 15, he was an excellent saxophonist and a wonderful personality.

More or less every musician in Hastings and beyond will know his name – in a career spanning many years he performed at various venues in Hastings and the South East, making countless friends and admirers. Pete played in his own duos/quartets and in myriad line-ups with musicians who are well-known today. He was also the leader of Jazz Organisation, which has a weekly residence at the JD Bar in Hastings and regular slots at the Brass Monkey.

Pete Burden was unique, dedicated to his music. Besides his superb musicianship, wit and warmth, he inspired and helped countless other musicians, young and old, and one result was an ever-changing array of guest soloists at the JD Bar – and a string of wonderful and very memorable nights. He will be sorely missed by many.

There will be a wake in tribute to Pete at the JD Bar in Hastings and many of his fellow musicians and friends are expected to attend (details will be posted on Facebook by Jazz Organisation).


Tributes to Pete Burden

Playing with Liane Carroll.

With Liane Carroll, vocals and keyboard, and Roger Carey, bass guitar.

Liane Carroll, legendary performer and Hastings resident
“Am so very sad to hear that Hastings institution and jazz legend Pete Burden passed away this morning. He was a beautiful friend and enormous influence to both Roger and myself. A wonderful player, very witty and generous man. He shall be missed by many. Love and peace.”

Rebecca Mason, lead singer, Jazz Organisation
“So sad that my lovely friend and mentor Pete Burden died at 4 am this morning.
Anyone who knew him loved him. I know I did. I will miss him so much. RIP Pete Burden, an absolute one-off and legend.”

Tony MacDonnell, drummer
“Sad to learn that my friend Pete Burden passed away this morning. I have been playing with Pete almost every week for the past five years and he was one of the first musicians I got to know when I moved to St Leonards 14 years ago. He was a local legend and a world-class musician and he inspired generations of musicians and continued to encourage young jazz players. He was witty, intellectual and mischievous and I shall miss him greatly.”

Colin Gibson
“My walk into town will never be the same now that Pete has gone. He would pop up out of nowhere with his equivalent of ‘hello’, which was; ‘I expect you’ve heard this one.’   What a lovely man and a great player, RIP mate.”

burden-3Harry Whitty, just 15 when he played his first gig with Pete
“Very sad to hear of the passing of Pete Burden. A great musician and a great unique character. He taught me a great amount and he will be greatly missed.”

Christopher Hoggins, artist
“Pete Burden, jazz saxophonist and living legend, living no more. Pete played bebop, the punk of the jazz world,when it was new, and played it throughout his life. Pete was a world-class saxophonist, even if he didn’t bother with the world bit, people who were good enough to know how good he was knew.

“He played because he had to, he couldn’t not, he wasn’t at all precious about instruments, he would chop and change from the obscenely expensive to the everyday on a whim, still brilliant regardless. He would quote madly, throwing in bits of Coltrane, Parker and Dizzy and for some reason which I never got to the bottom of, In An English Country Garden.

“Sadly, Pete is one of a dying breed. In jazz, being able to hit the right notes and getting a good tone is one thing, getting the feeling behind it is another. One will get you a passing career doing weddings and cruise ships, the other makes you a true jazzer.

Pete Burden, legend, sadly missed”.

The full blog can be seen here.



Posted 16:58 Wednesday, Jan 4, 2017 In: Music & Sound


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  1. Adrienne

    Very sorry to hear about Pete’s passing. I’ve not been around for a long time, though Peter came and stayed with me a day up here in Merseyside not long after I’d moved. He was a mentor to many with his wonderful Jaz workshops, and ever generous and encouraging to wannabe jazzers. Lovely man.

    Comment by Adrienne — Sunday, Jul 22, 2018 @ 22:26

  2. Allan Friswell

    Sad to learn this news.I was at university in Southampton at the same time as Pete, just getting to grips with bepop, playing drums in a modern jazz quintet. I had the pleasure of drumming behind Pete in a production of Genet’s “Deathwatch”, when I suspect he was as weeded up as he always seem to be when playing. My abiding memory of his outstanding ability was a cutting competition with the great altoist Joe Harriott at was it The Dolphin(?) in Botley. They competed fours for fours for an eternity at the end of the last number and I know that Joe was, if not beaten, at least equalled by a very fine player indeed – Joe’s whole body language told us that! Pete just smiled that sleepy amiable grin…!

    Thanks Pete. RIP chum.

    Comment by Allan Friswell — Sunday, Feb 4, 2018 @ 14:53

  3. Marianne

    R.I.P. Dear Pete. Sorry to have disapointed you!

    Comment by Marianne — Saturday, Aug 19, 2017 @ 10:37

  4. Verna Lodder

    Dear Pete

    Maybe you have met up with Stan in that JAZZ CLUB in the sky…who knows… Sorry I cannot come to your funeral as I am looking after my Mum at the moment.

    Love from


    Comment by Verna Lodder — Wednesday, Jan 25, 2017 @ 20:57

  5. Ann Kramer

    Another thing to mention about Pete, which probably most jazzers already know, is that he was good friends with jazz cornettist, trumpeter and pianist Lionel Grigson. During the 1960s the two of them played at the Troubadour, Old Compton Street, and later with Ujamaa, an Afro-Latin jazz group. He was one of a kind, as was Lionel. Neither of them were as well known as they deserved to be.

    Comment by Ann Kramer — Thursday, Jan 5, 2017 @ 00:09

  6. pat Fisher

    So sorry to hear of you leaving us Pete. What a lovely man you are. RIp

    Comment by pat Fisher — Wednesday, Jan 4, 2017 @ 21:44

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