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ALBUM REVIEWS

Borah Bergman/Peter Brötzmann/Frode Gjerstad: Left

Read "Left" reviewed by John Sharpe

Left brings together a particularly uncompromising triumvirate of veterans in pianist Borah Bergman (who died in 2012), German saxophone icon Peter Brötzmann and Norwegian reedman Frode Gjerstad. Although all three recorded after this date in various combinations, this performance from the 1996 Molde International Jazz Festival was the threesome's first and only appearance together on disc. Gjerstad unearthed the tape while seeking an overview of old recordings and was struck by Bergman's contribution and especially his shining left hand, hence ...

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Borah Bergman/Kidd Jordan/William Parker/Michael Wimberly: Vita Brevis

Read "Vita Brevis" reviewed by John Sharpe

Vita Brevis represents maverick pianist Borah Bergman's last session before his death at age 85 in 2013. In the liners label boss Joe Chonto speculates that Bergman suffered from undiagnosed Aspberger's syndrome. As such it's perhaps not a surprise that he found his niche in outsider music--the jazz avant-garde. However his musical ability was never in doubt, given his remarkable facility to simultaneously pursue separate lines at length with each hand. On this date he's surrounded by other elder statesmen ...

ON AND OFF THE GRID

Goodbye Borah

Read "Goodbye Borah" reviewed by Dom Minasi

Up until eleven years ago I had never heard of Borah Bergman. Priding myself on being aware of many of the avant players and being a devout fan of pianist Cecil Taylor, I should have known about Borah, but I didn't.Many of my early public performing years were devoted to playing straight-ahead and then to an inside-out approach, and when I thought it was time, I went headfirst into the avant-garde. Although many of my musical friends knew ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Borah Bergman: One More Time & Luminescence

Read "Borah Bergman: One More Time & Luminescence" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes

Borah Bergman/Giorgio DiniOne More TimeSilta2008 Borah BergmanLuminescenceTzadik2008 Superficially, it appears that free improvisation and ensemble jazz are disparate styles. However, both require patience, timing, musical intelligence, a strong ear and imagination. On a pair of new releases pianist Borah Bergman shows dexterous handling of each. Bergman and bassist Giorgio Dini meet ...

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Borah Bergman Trio: Luminescence

Read "Luminescence" reviewed by Nic Jones

The piano-bass-drums trio has become such a staple of jazz recording that it must be difficult for any trio to come up with something fresh. Borah Bergman and his crew accomplish this task, and whilst their work lacks the compositional integrity of the holy trinity of Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, and Andrew Hill, there's enough substance here to allay fears of cocktail lounge anonymity.

Bergman has technique to spare but it's to his credit that he's not in the business ...

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Borah Bergman / Lol Coxhill / Paul Hession: Acts of Love

Read "Acts of Love" reviewed by Clifford Allen

The number of piano/reeds/percussion trios in the history of improvised music can probably be counted on a single hand, but some of them have been highly influential. Cecil Taylor's trio recorded such a set in 1962 at the Café Montmartre in Copenhagen, the entrée into free percussion beginning with Sunny Murray's fragmented bebop impulsions as Taylor and alto foil Jimmy Lyons expanded upon Bud and Bird, even as tradition became so much mincemeat. Saxophonist Evan Parker, pianist Alex von Schlippenbach ...

INTERVIEWS

Borah Bergman: You Must Judge A Man By The Work of His Hands

Read "Borah Bergman: You Must Judge A Man By The Work of His Hands" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Borah Bergman is a one-of-a-kind pianist, composer and improviser whose originality lies in his entirely unique approach and utilization of left-handed and cross-handed techniques. Influenced by Lennie Tristano's hornlike phrasing and Monk's stride, Bergman has prolifically released on average one to two CDs a year since the early '90s (primarily solos and duos) featuring Thomas Chapin, Roscoe Mitchell, Oliver Lake, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton and Peter Brötzmann. Last month, AAJ-New York caught up with Bergman at his Upper West Side ...

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Borah Bergman and Tom Chapin: Toronto 1997

Read "Toronto 1997" reviewed by Clifford Allen

Naked confrontation, or a pact made between two individuals to make something from nothing... freely improvised duets are, if not the “meat and potatoes" or backbone of free music, then at least one of the truest expressions of such an art form. A dialogue formed between two individuals, each with their own language, is that call-and-response vaguely outlined somewhere in “Sister Sadie" but run through the process of “as if one's life depended on it." Such an encounter is that ...

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Borah Bergman: Meditations for Piano

Read "Meditations for Piano" reviewed by AAJ Staff

In a day and age of recording over-saturation, most covering too much ground over the course of a 70-plus minute CD, Bergman’s Meditations for Piano remains focused on a massaging mood established from note one to the final minute-and-half “Meditation 7,” all in under 50 very digestible minutes. Influenced early on by Lennie Tristano, Bud Powell, Monk, and the classical works of Charles Ives, Bergman has unjustifiably been compartmentalized as a Cecil Taylor-esque player. Comfortable playing melodies ...

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Borah Bergman with Conny Bauer & Mat Maneri: The River Of Sounds

Read "The River Of Sounds" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Three distinguished proponents of the jazz-based avant-garde, or new music, scene converge for a somewhat frenetic encounter of musical minds on The River Of Sounds. Pianist Borah Bergman's Cecil Taylor-like excursions are enhanced and personalized by his acute sense of rhythm, inquisitive statements, intervallic leaps, and gargantuan block chords. On the sixteen-minute opener titled “Jim," the pianist commences the agenda with a simply stated, three-chord progression, while his musical cohorts accelerate the momentum with eruptive dialogue. The trio frequently alters ...

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Borah Bergman/Oliver Lake: A New Organization

Read "A New Organization" reviewed by Robert Spencer

Borah Bergman plies his unique off-kilter lyricism here in the company of Oliver Lake, who shares his ability to deflect melodic progressions into unexpected areas. This particular duo combination can set off as many sparks as one might expect: many of the tracks contain a good deal of pedal-to-the-floor intensity, but there is more than just full-throttle pounding here.

However, especially toward the beginning of the disc, during the track entitled “I kiss your eyes," Lake seems to be prodding ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Borah Bergman & Oliver Lake: "A New Organization" Live at the Knitting Factory

Read ""A New Organization" Live at the Knitting Factory" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

New York based modern jazz pianist Borah Bergman and alto-soprano saxophonist Oliver Lake go at it in a series of highly interactive duets recorded “Live at the Knitting Factory”.

On “A New Organization” the duo provide plenty of expressive dialogue and seemingly intuitive improvisations while Oliver Lake, a long-standing member of the World Saxophone Quartet revisits his avant-garde roots on this project. Bergman’s enterprising and thoroughly interesting piano exercises reside within the Cecil Taylor or Fred Van Hove school; however, ...