Friday, November 6, 2009

Ray Smith Comments

"I knew (George) for many years, both here and at festivals around the country. I looked forward to his Yankee Jazz Column each month in the Missississippi Rag... particularly, after I moved down here to South Carolina 12 years ago.

His knack for research was equal to his descriptive skill as a writer....
always enjoyed his featured articles.

I hadn't heard this sad news, my condolences to the family. George will be remembered - long and well." - Ray Smith

Smith is the host of the WGBH radio program Jazz Decades and is a jazz drummer who was the leader of The Paramount Jazz Band.

UPDATE: Ray Smith passed away on February 26, 2010. Read the WGBH tribute.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Sorry to hear the news."

We were sorry to hear the news. George came down to The Larchwood in R.I. a few times to listen to us (The Jazz Strollers incl. Pete Salemi, pushing 100 years, Jeff Hughes and me). I talked with him many times on the phone. I like to think that I tossed some of my knowledge his way for his article on the Casa Loma Orch.

We enjoyed the evening at The Sherborn Inn earlier this year when Neville Dickie entertained us. And George entertained us, too.

Sorry we coudn't get to the calling hours. I had to be with The Jazz Strollers in Narragansett, R.I. from 4 to 8. Really had a nice relationship With George over the years.

Don And Diana McLean, October 31, 2009, Website

Praise from his Grandson

“Gramps” as I so lovingly called him was a major impact on my life for the past 27 years. His loving and kind heart will be missed by me and countless others who knew him. There is a special place for him in heaven and in my heart. I will never forget him and his wonderful and warming words.

To you Gramps:
Heaven and hell are two different places for a reason…. so try not to raise too much hell. Kiss mom for me.

William Schnarr, October 29th, 2009 | 10:22 pm, Folsom Funeral Home Website

Neville Dickie Remembers

My first meeting with George was when he interviewed me for the Mississippi Rag in 1998. He didn’t do anything by half, and thoroughly researched his subject.

Proof of this was an 18 page booklet he wrote for one of my CDs. It was always a treat to see George and wife Janet on my annual visit to the Sherborn Inn, both loving the music (and the food). Earlier this year he told me he wasn’t in good health but he was determined he and Janet would be at the Sherborn in August to see my performance with Stan McDonald - that was the last time I saw him.

George loved the dry English sense of humour and he laughed at many of the stories I told him. It was a privilege to know this wonderful man.

Neville Dickie, Carshalton Beeches, Surrey, England. October 29th, 2009 5:51 pm, Folsom Funeral Home Website

A Tribute from Stan McDonald

George was deeply devoted to the original American jazz that he loved and studied assiduously. Including others, he generously covered my Blue Horizon Jazz Band in person at the Sherborn Inn and prior venues, including the Sticky Wicket in Hopkinton (where we first met) for many years: in liner notes of our recordings, and in an extended biography of my own musical history in the February, 2003 issue of The Mississippi Rag, the premier publication preserving our heritage. I shall never forget and will always be grateful to George and his devoted wife Janet and son, Eric for their appreciation and encouragement through the best and worst of times. My wife, Ellen, and my son, Andy, are with me in sending our heartfelt condolences to them and to all of George’s extended family. May God bless and rest in peace the soul of this wonderful and dear personal friend — as his spirit lives on among us!

Stan McDonald. 25 Farm Road. Sherborn, Mass., October 29th, 2009 | 12:54 am, Folsom Funeral Home Website

George A. Borgman Death Notice

BORGMAN, George Allan Of Westwood, Oct 26. Beloved husband of Janet Claire (Ferroli) and dear father of Paul Allan, and his wife Cynthia C. Borgman of Woodstock, CT, Eric Bruno Borgman of Westwood, the late Carole Elaine Borgman and the late Andrea Vivien Hancock. Loving grandfather of Rebecca, Robert and William Schnarr. Also survived by 5 great grandchildren. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Friday at 9 am from the Folsom Funeral Home, 649 High St., Westwood followed by his Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret Mary Church, 845 High St., Westwood at 10 o'clock. Interment in Blue Hill Cemetery, Braintree. Visiting hours Thursday 4-8PM. For directions and guestbook please visit our website. Folsom Funeral Home

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Short George A. Borgman Biography

George Allan Borgman was a well known musicologist, jazz journalist, and contributing editor and columnist for The Mississippi Rag and other jazz magazines.

George earned a Bachelor of Music degree from St. Louis Institute of Music, and received a Master's degree in musicology from Indiana University, Bloomington. George played clarinet and saxophone with a few touring Midwestern bands in 1946 including Larry Tice's and Jack Everett's Orchestras.

He then joined the army at the end of 1946 and served as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany where he also played in the Army band in Heidelberg. Upon his release from the service he began touring again as a musician joining up with Jack Staulcup's Orchestra in 1950 with whom he also recorded several sides.

George became a high school band teacher and chorus director in Colorado in 1953 and in 1955 was working in Lovelock, Nevada, where he met his future wife Janet Claire Ferroli, from Boston, who was also a teacher. They were married on February 27, 1957 and moved to New York.

He began taking classes in television production at the School of Radio Technique, and subsequently began working as a lighting assistant on the Drew Pearson and Quentin Reynolds television documentaries. He quickly moved into film editing. By 1958, he was a film editor and cameraman at the NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri KOMU.

In September 1958, George decided to go back into the army entering the Counter Intelligence Corps and began taking classes at the Intelligence School, at Fort Holabird, Maryland. He was assigned to a CIC unit in West Berlin where he worked mostly in civilian clothes. George spent a year in the Republic of Vietnam and retired with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3 in 1979. In the early 1980s, he worked five years as a personnel security specialist for the Department of the Military in Alexandria, Virginia from 1981 to 1984.

He began freelancing as a sportswriter for a group of local newspapers in the Boston area. He continued covering sporting events for six years and in 1988, began writing stories for jazz periodicals concentrating mostly on ragtime and traditional jazz. He did also write about big bands, bebop, swing and modern jazz.

George wrote hundreds of reviews, articles and columns for such periodicals as the IAJRC Journal, Cadence Magazine, Joslin's Jazz Journal, TJ Today as well as The Mississippi Rag, for which he was a contributing editor and wrote a monthly column, "Yankee Jazz Beat" from 1992 up until the newspaper closed down in 2009 upon the death of its founder Leslie Johnson.

He was well known within the jazz community for his many reviews, in-depth articles on the history of jazz and on various jazz musicians as well as his monthly column. George wrote liner notes for several jazz artists and bands including the Back Bay Ramblers, Stan McDonald and His Blue Horizon Jazz Band and British boogie-woogie pianist Neville Dickie.

He wrote articles covering the annual Hot Steamed Jazz Festival in Connecticut, and on Tommy Benford, Ruby Braff, Al Casey, Buzzy Drootin, Chuck Folds, Stan Kenton, Joseph Lamb, Marie Marcus, and Stan McDonald as well as scores of others. He was voted in the top 12 of jazz critics in a 1990s poll by JazzBeat Magazine.

George was working on a book about the Casa Loma Orchestra when he died after a short illness. At the end of his funeral Mass on October 30, 2009 several famous jazz musicians performed a traditional jazz send off. John Clark and Stan McDonald played clarinet, Jeff Hughes was on trumpet and Ross Petot played the piano.