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clifford_thornton

Borah Bergman has died

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Just got emails from Frode Gjerstad and from my editor at the NYC Jazz Record that pianist Borah Bergman has died. He was 78.

A player I respected, even if I didn't listen to him often.

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I recognise him, seen him around but didn't know who he was.

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Wow, frankly I didn't know he was so old. But he was a unique voice and left around a lot of challenging music to unlock, which is saying something.

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Only know his music from a recording he made with Roscoe Mitchell. That's a good one - the two of them found a common ground and plowed it. I'm sure there's more good Borah Bergman music that's escaped my notice.

Thanks, Mr. Bergman.

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some hard blows these days ... haven't heard much of his music, but enjoyed what litte I've heard. r.i.p.

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I haven't heard any performances by Mr. Bergman in decades, nor have I given a second listen to his first album, but here is what I had to say about that in Stereo Review 36 years ago:

BORAH BERGMAN: Discovery. BorahBergman (piano). Perpetual Springs; HorseOpera; The Third Hand. CHIAROSCURO CR 125 $6.98.

Performance: Stumbling down the Jarretttrail

Recording: Very good

Chiaroscuro, a New York-basedindependent label, has up to now concentrated on Dixieland and mainstream jazzrevivals, but this album represents a radical departure. According to annotatorNat Hentoff, Discovery heralds a new policy of alsopresenting the avant-garde.

New York pianist Borah Bergman,who here makes his recording debut, plays in a free-form style that otherpianists have explored before him, but "Perpetual Spring"--which takes up allof side one--is quite unorthodox, introducing a recording technique which Ibelieve to be original but which I hope will not catch on. Taping separatetracks for the right and left channels is normal procedure these days, butBergman has recorded the second channel without simultaneously listening to thefirst, and that is another matter. Does it work? Yes, to a certain extent, butthere is predictably a randomness about the end result, and the effect,although it has a somewhat prepossessing hypnotic quality, is still that ofhearing two recordings at one time. Bergman does suggest that one also listento each channel separately, but the music simply isn't worth theeffort.

"Horse Opera," which opens side two, is largely more ofthe same, without the added track, and "The Third Hand"—an improvisation forthe left hand only, ends the album on further random notes. I have heard thiskind of improvisational piano from non-jazz quarters for over twenty-fiveyears, so I fail to understand the sense of discovery that Mr. Hentoff haswoven through his liner notes. This is not an awful album, but Borah Bergmanis, so far, a Peter Nero to Keith Jarrett's Tatum. —Chris Albertson

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Wow, a bad couple of weeks for jazz. RIP Borah Bergman.

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Wow, frankly I didn't know he was so old. But he was a unique voice and left around a lot of challenging music to unlock, which is saying something.

He was so old, than he hides how really old he was. You can put it ten years more to be close to the truth. I've know him very well in the end of the seventies, when he spend time in Brussels and I was happy to see him again a quater of century later, again in Brussels for a concert who was brillant. A great pianist but the man was quite nevrotic and full of contradiction - he wanted to be a writer and has always feel guilty to not be one. When he was in Brussels (2008, I think) for the concert he gave at the Theâtre Marni, I present him to Noah Rosen, another nevrotic pianist full of contradictions. They was looking at each other, all the evening that follow the Borah 's performance, like cat and mouse...

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Another loss - these have been a rough couple weeks. Also enjoyed his music - especially the Ornette tribute w/ Hamid Drake on Soul Note and the Tzadik disc, Meditations for Piano. Thanks for the music Borah.

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Another worthy one is gone :(

His discography includes half a dozen albums on SoulNote. Maybe the label will reissue these in one of their excellent boxes!

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Cue Blue Train to admonish the board for discussing the passing of a musician before his death being covered in the press.

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I think Blue Train has been derailed as far as his "show me the obit" outrage is concerned.

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When I was trying to decide whether to make the solo drive to see Peter Brotzmann and Jason Adasiewicz, I downloaded Exhilaration, a Brotzmann/Bergman/Cyrille Soul Note date. Impressed with the album, I attended the concert, which sparked my love affair with Brotzmann's music. For that, I will fondly remember Bergman. RIP.

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