Thomas Borgmann

Primary Instrument: Reeds

Born: January 5, 1955    

Thomas Borgmann

Borgmann began his career in the early 1980s, working mainly with the Berlin Art Ensemble around Nick Steinhaus (participating in the 1981 Tour Southamerica for the Goethe-Institut, and the 1982 Nickelsdorfer Konfrontationen). He went on to the Sirone Sextet in New York (1987); the Hidden Quartet (with Dietmar Diesner, Erik Balke, and Jonas Akerblom); and Noise & Toys (with Valery Dudkin, Sascha Kondraschkin). In 1991, Borgmann founded the Orkestra Kith’N Kin (with Hans Reichel, John Tchicai, Pat Thomas, Jay Oliver, Mark Sanders, Lol Coxhill and others). Later he toured with his Quartet Ruf der Heimat (founded in 1993 with Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, Peter Brötzmann, Willi Kellers, Christoph Winckel), and with the Trio Blue Zoo (with Borah Bergman and Brötzmann). Starting in 1984, and continuing until 1996, he organized the festival STAKKATO in Berlin....
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“(...)These three musicians have grown up in a world of music that has to some extent been defined by constant flux, constantly balancing the old traditions of craftsmanship, genre, and sound against more recent developments. Yet with “Jazz” they have produced a CD that bears no trace of this trend. Inspired by a mixed bag of ideas, they have created an altogether new product, packed with wholly surprising transformations and tremendous, absolutely original diversity. It can be heard right from the start with “Little Birds May Fly.” Borgmann’s soprano sax cultivates an unusual melodious quality and a delightful sound that is somehow childlike in its innocence. (...) This CD is undoubtedly free jazz. But it’s safe to say that nobody is expecting free jazz to sound like the music on this recording.” uli ohlshausen (frankfurter allgemeine zeitung) - CD booklet boom box

“...this band does swing so well. always. and this swing is divisible by three. take kellers’ light yet complex use of the cymbals in this number - it’s more than mere flying, it’s about spreading your wings, contracting your muscles, changing direction, choosing the right path. and then there’s the singing. tenor and soprano alternating. battling it out. the hymnlike sound and the analytical sound. sighing and saying. finding a motif that is inherently beautiful, one that can stand alone, one that makes an offer - only to stretch it tight, smooth it over, rip it apart, or keep on refining it. (...) boom box play jazz. and jazz is about flying and singing” jan künemund - from booklet: boom box

Boom Box: featuring Thomas Borgmann on tenor, soprano & sopranino saxes, Akira Ando on double bass and Willi Kellers on drums. I know of each of these musicians from much different places and sessions, but haven't heard much from any of these men in recent years. Thomas Borgmann has worked with Peter Brotzmann, Borah Bergman and Dennis Charles with a few discs out on the CIMP & Cadence labels. I remember bassist Akira Ando from the time he played in William Parker's Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra and he has since recorded with Billy Bang and Elliott Levin. Drummer Willi Kellers has also recorded with Peter Brotzmann, Keith & Julie Tippett and Ernst Ludwig-Petrowsky. Each of the three musicians contributed two songs for this disc. Starting with “Little Birds May Fly”, this solid trio is off and running with Borgmann soaring softly on sopranino, the rhythm team spinning furiously underneath. Ando's “How Far Can You Fly” sounds like a standard when it begins with Borgmann swaggering on tenor and spinning lines that sound similar to standard riffs. Kellers' “Hey Little Bird” is restrained, lovely and free with exquisite soprano sax, hushed bass and delicate mallets cymbal work. The piece builds and increases in tempo throughout, spinning faster and faster with inspired solos from each member of the trio. Although this trio's music is basically free, there is a playfulness and consistent connection between all three members like old friends conversing in an atmosphere of trust and heated exchange. There is little or no screaming going on here, just a most engaging and thoughtful affair. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

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CD/LP/Track Review

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