John R. Burr is that rare pianist who combines jazz technique with a genuine love for folk music. The Philadelphia Weekly said, “Pianist extraordinaire John R. Burr has the most sparkling style since former Allman Brother-turned-Rolling Stone hired hand Chuck Leavell.” Discology wrote, “John R. Burr ranks with the best of the elegant jazzers.”

John R was first drawn to the piano at the age of 10 when he heard Vince Guaraldi’s playing on the Peanut’s animated TV specials. He started out as a child prodigy drummer; he was the only child out of 5 siblings not forced to study the piano. It wasn’t until he was in high school that his focus changed and the piano became his instrument of choice.

Years of touring and recording sessions with such artists as Maria Muldaur, The Alison Brown Quartet, Paul McCandless, Michael Manring, and Kathy Kallick, and recognition including a feature spot on Windham Hill’s Piano Sampler II are a testament of his talent.

Living in the San Francisco area, John R found himself at OTR Studios often recording on other people’s albums. There he met Cookie Marenco, the engineer on those sessions. When Cookie founded Blue Coast Records, she knew it was a matter of time before John R had a recording under his own name. The first solo piano album of many to come is called Quarter Tones and displays John R’ intimate relationship with the piano.

His playing is as likely to be inspired by James Taylor or Doctor John as by Oscar Peterson or the Yellowjackets although he says it is his love of folk music that has influenced him most. John R. explains, “I play a sort of jazz piano version of the vocal music that I love to listen to. That’s what influences me. I love to play and study jazz, but I listen to vocal, folk/singer/songwriter music. I’m always searching for that melodic song-like quality when I improvise.”