Borah Bergman

Borah Bergman

born on 13/12/1933 in Brooklyn, NY, United States

died on 18/10/2012 in New York City, NY, United States

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Borah Bergman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Borah Bergman

Borah Bergman (December 13, 1926 – October 18, 2012) was an American free jazz pianist.

Training and influences

Bergman was born in Brooklyn to Russian immigrant parents.[1] Accounts of when he began to learn the piano vary: some assert that he learned clarinet as a child and did not commence his piano studies until adulthood;[2] others, that he had piano lessons from a young age;[1] one of his own accounts is that he took piano lessons as a child, then changed to clarinet, before returning to piano after being discharged from the army.[3] As an adult, he developed his left hand playing to the point where he became essentially ambidextrous as a pianist, and could play equally fast in both hands,[2] and they could act completely independently of each other;[4] Bergman himself preferred the term "ambi-ideation" to "ambidextrous", as it conveyed the added ability to express ideas achieved when both hands were equal.[3] Bergman cited Earl Hines, Bud Powell,[1] and Lennie Tristano[4] as formative influences, although his own style was based on free improvisation rather than song form. Commenting on his other influences, Bergman said that "I was influenced strongly by Ornette Coleman... I was also very influenced by chamber music and Bach and Dixieland or New Orleans, where all of the instruments were playing contrapuntally and polyphonically. So I figured I'd like to do it myself".[3]

Performance and recordings

Until the 1970s he played little in public, concentrating on private practice and his work as a school teacher.[1] He recorded four albums as a soloist, most notably on the European label Soul Note, before embarking on duo and trio albums from the 1990s. A small number of solo and quartet albums were also released from the mid-1990s. The style for which he is best known is described in The Penguin guide to jazz recordings: "His astonishing solo performances recall the 'two pianists' illusion associated with Art Tatum, though in a more fragmentary and disorderly sound-world".[5]


  • Discovery (Chiaroscuro Records, 1975)
  • Bursts of Joy (Chiaroscuro Records, 1976)
  • A New Frontier (Soul Note, 1983)
  • Upside Down Visions (Soul Note, 1984)
  • The Fire Tale with Evan Parker (Soul Note, 1990)
  • Inversions with Thomas Chapin (Muworks, 1992)
  • The Human Factor with Andrew Cyrille (Soul Note, 1993)
  • First Meeting with Roscoe Mitchell and Thomas Buckner (Knitting Factory, 1994)
  • The Italian Concert with Roscoe Mitchell (Soul Note, 1994)
  • The October Revolution with Joe McPhee, Rashied Ali and Wilber Morris (Evidence, 1994)
  • Reflections on Ornette Coleman and the Stone House with Hamid Drake (Soul Note, 1995)
  • Blue Zoo with Thomas Borgmann and Peter Brötzmann (Konnex Records, 1996)
  • Eight By Three with Anthony Braxton and Peter Brötzmann (Mixtery Records, 1996)
  • Geometry with Ivo Perelman (Leo Records, 1996)
  • Ride Into the Blue with Thomas Borgmann and Peter Brötzmann (Konnex Records, 1996)
  • Exhilaration with Peter Brötzmann and Andrew Cyrille (Soul Note, 1997)
  • Ikosa Mura with Frode Gjerstad, Bobby Bradford and Pheeroan akLaff (Cadence, 1997)
  • New Organization with Oliver Lake (Soul Note, 1997)
  • Toronto 1997 with Thomas Chapin (Boxholder Records, 1997)
  • The River of Sounds with Conny Bauer and Mat Maneri (Boxholder Records, 2001)
  • The Double Idea (Boxholder Records, 2002)
  • The Mahout with George Haslam and Paul Hession (Slam, 2003)
  • Meditations for Piano (Tzadik Records, 2003)
  • Rivers in Time with Frode Gjerstad (FMR Records, 2003)
  • Acts of Love with Lol Coxhill and Paul Hession (Mutable Music, 2005)
  • One More Time with Giorgio Dini (Silta Records, 2007)
  • Live at Tortona with Stefano Pastor (Mutable Music, 2009)
  • Luminescence with Greg Cohen, Kenny Wollesen and John Zorn (Tzadik Records, 2009)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Kelsey, Chris (December 2004) Chris Kelsey Borah Bergman: His Fatha's Son. JazzTimes.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kelsey, Chris Artist Biography. AllMusic. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Borah Bergman: You Must Judge a Man by the Work of His Hands (November 4, 2005) All About Jazz.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Polillo, Arrigo. In A New Frontier [CD liner notes]. Soul Note.
  5. Cook, Richard & Morton, Brian (2008) The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.), p. 116. Penguin.

External links

This page was last modified 18.10.2013 18:30:08

This article uses material from the article Borah Bergman from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.