Drummer, Richie Pratt
This is a photo of the letterhead portion from one of the (typed and signed) letters that our eldest brother wrote to me when he was still living and based in New York City as a professional musician.
You can visit the link to his website above to learn more about his significant musical career, professional accomplishments, and biography.
He was a dozen years older than me so I was a baby most of the time during his childhood. We literally didn’t grow up together like I did with those among my siblings who are closer to me in age. We were both born in Olathe, Kansas.
However, I was ultimately able to develop a very great relationship with my oldest brother as an adult largely because we were both professional musicians and we had that in common beyond just having the same mother. We grew to be close.
He was a great mentor, friend and big brother to me who was also able to fill in lots of the natural gaps in my exact middle child understanding and factual knowledge of some important aspects of our family’s history along with sharing his vast music industry experience.
VIDEO: End Credits of Stardust Memories (1980) Woody Allen film
The man was a superstar among all of us in the family. And he was a kind person. He wasn’t a saint of course. He was a NCAA Division I college scholarship athlete in his youth, so it’s easy to imagine that he wasn’t a push over in any regard.
A true standard bearer. He was based in New York City and worked at the highest levels of the music industry for decades. The competitiveness of people in the entertainment business didn’t change him. I don’t recall ever hearing him utter a bad word about anyone regardless if he experienced any lack of integrity.
He recorded, toured, and performed with the A-list of professionals.
He was in a Woody Allen film, many television commercials, and was a successful studio musician and contractor among numerous other credits.
PHOTO: L/R – Me, Jesse Newman, Richie, Curtis McClinton and our 3 eldest grandchildren from our daughter.
He lived in a nice neighborhood in Manhattan on West 87th Street where I actually got to visit him once when he was the drum soloist on Broadway for “Sophisticated Ladies,” conducted by Duke Ellington’s son, Mercer. He got me into the show.
VIDEO: Sophisticated Ladies (1981) Broadway Musical cast at Tony Awards
All of this to say that although everyone has to make their own way in life and to be successful, you have to do the work to open the doors yourself, it’s so encouraging to have a pathfinder in your life.
Nobody can give musical career success to you but having a family member who legitimately achieved success at the highest levels is priceless. At least it has been so for me personally.
Well (1) I could ask him how the business works and he would tell me the truth;
(2) if I was dealing with someone or a situation in an industry-related matter or concern, I could bounce it off of him for his valid opinions with confidence;
and, (3) he taught me that in the final objective analysis of the music business at the world class level the importance of always being a master of your art and craft as a professional musician is the number one objective barometer.
VIDEO ALBUM: It was cool that I was ultimately able to help my brother publish “OLATHE” his own solo album
My brother showed me that the “American Dream” still exists for all of us if we look for it inside ourselves first then focus our honest efforts on using our talents positively.
The way he lived his life also proves that people can go through difficult personal challenges in life with kindness, grace, and dignity without hate.
He’s truly a history maker in the literal sense of the term and those who biologically follow in the continuum and/ or acknowledge a connection to our related family line should also know who he was and what he did to pave the way.
MUSINGS IN Cb
Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett established their branch of The Burnett Family in March of 1979 in Copenhagen, Denmark. They are professional musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs based in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.