"Charlie Burrell was the first black person to break the color barrier in classical music. In 1949 he was the first black person under contract with the Denver Symphony Orchestra. In 1959 he became the first black person to play in the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera. In addition to being a classical music pioneer, he was a jazz musician as well, playing alongside many world-renowned jazz artists. The Life of Charlie Burrell is no simple story of the triumph of will over oppression, or of an angel who always did the right thing in the face of unending adversity and evil. Burrell's stories weave a more complex tale of inner strength borne in the crucible of an amazing family, fired by intense ambition and hard work, and catalyzed by a series of mentors--both black and white--from whom Charlie learns important lessons, both intended and unintended"--Amazon.