By Anica Padilla

DENVER (CBS4) — Charlie Burrell, known as the “Jackie Robinson of music,” celebrated his 100th birthday on Sunday.

(credit: Colorado Symphony)

The Denver native and legendary bass player was hired with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, which is now the Colorado Symphony, in 1949.

Charles Burrell (credit: Colorado Symphony)

It wasn’t just groundbreaking for Denver or Colorado — Burrell was the first African American to play with any major symphony orchestra in the United States, paving the way for future musicians of color.

Burrell performed well into his 90s and has always been a huge part of the jazz scene in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood.

Charles Burrell (credit: Colorado Symphony)

Anica Padilla

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