Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Echoes of a Friend: Recalling Borah Bergman

Borah Bergman Memorial
Saint Peter's Church
New York, NY

This past April a number of us - musicians, writers, producers, relatives, friends and listeners - gathered together for an evening dedicated to a recently departed friend, Borah Bergman.  So many musicians spent time with Borah - often at his home studio on the Upper West Side of Manhattan - playing, talking, listening to Borah talk.  Often these relationships flew under the radar of the so-called scene.  Take a moment to dig amongst creative musicians, and you will find Borah connected with many of us in unforgettable ways.

Unforgettable, too, was his music.  For me, his definitive work was his solo ouevre.  But Borah Bergman knew how to bring out the best in other musicians.  During the years that I worked with Borah, we worked together on setting up duos, concerts and recordings.  I produced a series of evenings at The New Music Cafe during my tenure there, Sunday evenings pairing Borah with Andrew Cyrille, Herb Robertson and Paul Smoker and others; a concert with Perry Robinson and JD Parran; a duo with Warren Smith and more.  At a point, I joined him on stage for a concert at the Knitting Factory with Thomas Chapin and Gerry Hemingway.  

I also introduced Borah to Bill Dixon.  Let's just say that it took a while for this connection to flower.  There is a wonderful recording of the music Dixon made on a FONT concert that needs to be heard someday.

Jason Kao Hwang organized the evening.  I met and then played with Mat Maneri along with Lou Grassi and my long-time colleague Steve Swell.  Hear what we created, and the entire evening's program here, thanks to Robert O'Haire.

I miss Borah Bergman.  I think that I always will.  He was kind to me, generous with his time and knowledge, a real friend. 

Concert images by Scott Friedlander
Memorial poster by Stephen Haynes

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