“The atmosphere was charged,” he recalls, describing the rugged immediacy of a space that had once housed the Electric Circus, a fabled psychedelic rock club. “Everyone was there, waiting their turn to perform. It was magical.”
Burrell — a pianist and composer of sweeping proficiency and expeditionary prowess — performed that year, in 2000, with the redoubtable saxophonist David Murray. He has since appeared on 15 subsequent editions of the event, sometimes playing multiple sets. Now Burrell, 77, will be the recipient of lifetime achievement honors at the 23rd annual Vision Festival, to be held at Roulette in Brooklyn from May 23 to 28.