I never got to speak to Skip after this, and a couple of years have passed. I never took any lessons with him, but I have been trying to get in touch with him ever since.
(Skip Burney, Photo Credit: Skip Burney)
I have tried to find as much info as I possible could about Skip, here is some info that I got off of a workshop that he was doing 2002.
Born Kenneth Benjimen Burney in the Bronx on July 20, 1953, Skip was tutored beginning at the age of 8 by his mother, Madame Lucille Burney, who along with Leontyne Price, Inid Dale and Chancy Northern were among the first black musicians at the Julliard School of Music. At 13, Skip met Pancho Mora, a Yoruba priest, and was introduced toYoruba culture. After attending Juliard and receiving a master's degree in Theory & Composition, Skip studied & performed with Baba Chief Hawthorne Bey, Julito Collazo, Machito, Patato Valdez, Totico, the national Ballet of Guinea, Tito Puente, Orestes Vilato, and Chico Perez. Skip was introduced to Orlando "Puntilla" Rios, who has become Skip's mentor and padrino (godfather) in the Anya society. Skip, whom Downbeat Magazine has called "the Charlie Parker of drumming," has also studied trap drumming with the likes of Roy Brook, Louis Haye, Art Blakey and Billy Higgins.
Here is another write up on Skip (from a workshop in 08'):
Skip Burney ‘aka’ Brinquito graduated with a Masters in Voice from Julliard. He has since studied Afro-Cuban percussion with Julito Collazo, Lazaro Galarraga, Hector Hernandez ‘aka’ Flaco, Mongo Santamaria and Armando Peraza.
He met his godfather, Orlando Antonio Rios Alfonso ‘aka’ Puntilla. Skip performs with Puntilla in the group New Generation (Nueva Generacion). In 2002, he went to Cuba with Puntilla and was initiated into the priesthood of Aganju.
Skip has recorded and performed with Karen Briggs, Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Chaka Kahn, Monyongo Jackson and the Jungle Book Band, Bill Summers, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Dianne Reeves, Tanya Leon, Sting, Vinx, Phil Collins, Cirque De Soile, John Mac Laughlin, Gene Golden and Quinto Mayor, Saoco, Edwin Bonillia, Lefty Perez, Tito Allen, Charlie Palmieri, Ray Santiago, Stanley Clark, Bradford Marcelis, Trelok Gurtu, and Nu Guajiro.
He currently heads his Afro Cuban Ensemble, Eru Chambo and his latin jazz band, Quimbombo.
(Skip on quinto w/ Quinto Mayor, Video Credit: Barry Cox)
My main goal (as if I don't mention it on almost every blog post) is to make sure these great musicians/percussionists/rumberos are given the credit they deserve. Skip definitely fits this criteria. Hopefully I will be able to hook up with him in the future and maybe do an interview.
In the meantime if you want to listen to Skip, here are a couple of recordings that he has been on (unfortunately I don't have a full discography).
Mark Weinstein & Cuban Roots- Algo Mas
Ray Santiago- Latin Up
Mark Sanders has some great video of Skip playing quinto and tres dos on his blog.