His musical career has blessed him to perform in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, Wimbledon Stadium, Taj Mahal, Royal Albert Hall, Mann Theater Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Sir Shankar Lal Concert Hall, Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Yamaha Hall and many other venues and festivals around the world.

Drummer, percussionist, keyboardist, composer, arranger, band leader and music educator Ronnie Burrage was born on October 19, 1959 in St. Louis, Missouri.

His style draws most notably from the musical genres of “jazz”, “funk” and “soul”. Burrage sang in The St. Louis Cathedral Boys Choir from ages seven to eleven, and had the opportunity to perform with Duke Ellington, one of the greatest musical figures to ever live, at the incredibly young age of only nine years. He was introduced to “jazz” by listening to music every day, which was typically presented to him by his mother, his uncles and grandparents. He played drums, percussion, piano and vibraphone, and sang in “funk”, “R&B”, and “jazz” groups, including “The Soul Flamingos”, “Fontella Bass”, “The Oliver Sain Band”, “Third Circuit & Spirit”,” Rainbow Glass” and “Expression Jazz Quintet”. From the ages 15 to 17, Ronnie was a member of “No Commercial Potential” with keyboardist Mark Friedrick, bassist Darryl Mixon and guitarist Richie Daniels. They served as the opening act for pianist/keyboardist George Duke and Canadian “pop” singer/songwriter Gino Vannelli. Burrage played in clubs, concert halls, festivals and other assorted venues, including the annual “Afro Day in the Park” in St. Louis, Missouri. As a member of The St. Louis Metropolitan Jazz Quintet in the early 1980’s.

In 1978, on a full music scholarship, Ronnie Burrage attended The University of North Texas. When he was 17, he moved to New York City and began playing with St. Louis musicians the likes of, John Hicks, Hamiet Bluiett and the Bowie brothers, trumpeter Lester, trombonist and vocalist Joseph Bowie. Ronnie was a founding member of the popular Punk Rock/Funk/Jazz group now led by Joe Bowie, “Defunkt”. His working relationships continued to grow with bassist’s Teruo Nakamura, and Major Holley and the virtuosic pianist Sir Roland Hanna. Ronnie’s career thrust into notoriety by working with Sonny Fortune, which led to his three-year stint with McCoy Tyner, during this time he also worked with Sonny Rollins, Pat Metheny, Jackie McLean, Aurther Blythe and many others. After working with trumpet Woody Shaw, Burrage founded an “avant-garde jazz” group named “Third Kind of Blue” with bassist Anthony Cox and saxophonist John Purcell. In the 1990’s, he began producing and recording artist like, violinist Billy Bang, saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett, The World Saxophone Quartet. He’s recorded with Courtney Pine, hornist and composer Gunther Schuller, and saxophonist Julius Hemphill’s notable recording, “Big Band”.[2]

“The Burrage Ensemble” was Ronnie’s first band, playing primarily in New York City from 1980–1983, and at “jazz” festivals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Missouri, Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. Members were pianist Kenny Kirkland, electric bassist Marcus Miller and saxophonist Joe Ford. Other members of the ensemble included trumpeter Rasul Siddik, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, bassist Avery Sharpe, trumpeter’s Wynton Marsalis and Wallace Roney.

From 1994 – 2002, Ronnie Burrage served as an instructor of both drums and percussion in New York City’s famed Jazzmobile, Inc. program. He taught as an adjunct professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1994 to 1996, and was a substitute instructor at The School of Jazz at The New School in New York City from 1992 to 2000. He is both producer and artistic director at Blue Noise Studio in Frederick, Maryland. At Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania, he taught “Hip-Hop Music and Culture” for the departments of African and African-American Studies, Integrative Arts and English. Professor Burrage currently teaches, “History of Jazz” and “Music of Global Cultures” at SUNY Old Westbury College.

Ronnie Burrage’s current band “Holographic Principle” is featured on his upcoming Truth Revolution Recording Collective/Truth Revolution Records in collaboration with his own label, MiMikAlana Records debut release, entitled “Dance of the Great Spirit”. The band includes Polish pianist Michal Wierba and bassist Nimrod Speaks, alongside Ronnie himself on an assortment of instruments, which of course include the drum kit. According to Burrage, “The purposes of ‘Dance of the Great Spirit’ is to bring ‘Holographic Principle’ to the world, to provide work for each member of the trio, so that they might provide for their families and most importantly fund the nonprofit organization, ‘World Rhythm Academy’

Ronnie’s latest recording/Creating our own revenue source: “Dance of The Great Spirit”

“Dance of The Great Spirit” self-titled recording by Ronnie Burrage & Holographic Principle. Holographic Principle is a trio of life loving, energetic artists brought together by a willingness to create music from the soul and love of their practices. The music produced by HP transcends boundaries, fuses cultures, tells stories and uplifts the human experience.

“Dance of The Great Spirit” is a work dedicated to changing the world by breaking down barriers, fusing culture, musical concepts and sustaining worthy causes. As we are all living in a time of hate, racism, separatism, bigotry, unflinching lies from our elected leaders, we must revolt by any means necessary. We choose the arts and education as our tools of reckoning and awakening.

This new recording once pressed and released will bring worldwide attention to the dreams and aspirations of World Rhythm Academy.

"Music has healing properties," according to Burrage. We have not yet begun to explore all that music can do for us, individually and on a global level,” he said. He believes music can provide one avenue to erase all the divisions and hate in the world (

Prof. Burrage is known not only for his virtuoso ability with all forms of percussion, but as an innovative composer and program designer who can put together dramatic musical programs which are deeply educational and all together entertaining. "I am writing these things because I think more people need to know Ronnie Burrage, who has been on the scene, like they say, and has been saying something musically, at a very high level." — Amiri Baraka

Mr. Burrage is articulate and interesting in my opinion because of his ability to communicate and entertain large and diverse audiences and I have followed and witnessed his work for many years.” – (2013)

"Rainbow Glass" mid 70's before leaving St. Louis, with Mark Friedrick,  David Boonshoft  &  Richie Daniels .

"Rainbow Glass" mid 70's before leaving St. Louis, with Mark Friedrick, David Boonshoft & Richie Daniels.

"Alexis" 1975/76 St. Louis with  Tony Thompson , Ivory Mobley,  Nick Brown .

"Alexis" 1975/76 St. Louis with Tony Thompson, Ivory Mobley, Nick Brown.

Burrage is considered to be a virtuoso, exceptionally skilled and regarded as one of the best in the business at his craft. He has toured all four continents from Siberia to South Africa to Japan. Ronnie is a well-respected educator who’s biography is vibrant and dynamically diverse. He has graced stages with the who’s who of jazz such as Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, Frank Morgan, Wallace Roney, Jackie & Rene McLean, James Moody, Gary Bartz, Archie Shepp, Reggie Workman, Joe Zawinul, Cedar Walton, Wood Shaw, McCoy Tyner, and Pepper Adams. Throughout his illustrious career he has been featured on over 100 recordings.
“The Jazz Network Worldwide is honored to be featuring such a legend in jazz. His musical offerings are well-suited for our jazz community where worldwide music festivals and booking agents can learn about his amazing musical history and latest release. Ronnie’s music is not only for the avid jazz fan to be fed but for the up-and-coming artists that need to open their ears to a historical thread of jazz history through his music” says Jaijai Jackson, creator of The Jazz Network Worldwide.

Early days on an East Village rooftop Ave A & St. Marks NYC, photo shoot for Paiste Cymbals. Photo by  Colette Oswald

Early days on an East Village rooftop Ave A & St. Marks NYC, photo shoot for Paiste Cymbals. Photo by Colette Oswald