Wednesday, December 28, 2011

George's Work, "Nationalism in Contemporary American Music," is Referenced

Here is a link to a paper, which references George Borgman’s 1953 work Nationalism in Contemporary American Music, as one of its sources. The paper is entitled Jazz and Black Elements in Art Music by David Baker who is a professor and chairman of the jazz department of the School of Music at Indiana University. Baker is an author and composer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sherborn Inn Holiday Spectacular

The December 11th 2011 Jazz Spectacular at the Sherborn Inn in Sherborn, Massachusetts ended the year with a fantastic jazz crescendo! Let's take a look at the event through some YouTube videos posted by Harold McAleer. The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Here Dave Whitney plays trumpet and sings while John Clark blows soulfully on the sax. Craig Ball is on clarinet, Ross Petot plays the piano, Dave Bragdon is on drums, Al Ehrenfried plays bass, and Peter Gerler is on the guitar. Dave Whitney struts his stuff on Winter Weather singing the tune accompanied by the same players as on The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. The battling clarinets of Craig Ball and John Clark are featured in this lively rendition of After You've Gone with some great playing by Ross Petot and the rest of the crew! Stan McDonald on soprano sax joins John Clark on clarinet for Apex Blues. The great trumpeter Jeff Hughes plays From Monday On with the addition of John Kafalas on trombone. Pianist extraordinaire Ross Petot plays Walking in a Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). Ross gets some expert accompaniment by Dave Bragdon on drums.

Here is a good article on the event at the New England Traditional Jazz Plus website: Holiday Spectacular 2011 at the Sherborn Inn run by Marce Enright.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Normandy High School Yearbook 1945

"ALLAN BORGMAN...lent tuneful clarinetic notes to the Senior Band, Norsemen and Orchestra...struck a scientific chord in Chem Club...set many Courier readers on the beam with informative "short wave" stories."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Proud father with his daughter Carole.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Other Materials in the Archives

Autographed photo of Glen Gray.
The George A. Borgman Archive (GABA) doesn't just contain books, recordings and Borgman's writings and photographs, it also conatins a modest collection of jazz memorabilia which includes autographed photographs, letters and various signatures of jazz and big band figures.

Some of the autographed photographs include signed photos by Thomas "Fats" Waller's guitarist Al Casey, Louie Bellson, Max Roach and one of drummer Jack Carter from 1937.

Other materials include letters written and signed by Lionel Hampton and Paul Whiteman as well as autographs of Bob Crosby, the Mills Brothers, and Woody Herman. There are also some signed albums of various artsist new and old.

These are just some of the other interesting items held in the Archives.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Interesting Experiences as a Special Agent with Military Intelligence" by George A. Borgman

"I had many interesting experiences in the Army in the United States and overseas. I have been involved in various counterespionage activities and investigations in Washington, Germany and Vietnam, plus anti-terrorist activities in Germany.

As a MI Special Agent, US Army, I was in West Berlin when the Wall went up in August 1961 and was in the Pentagon during the last days of the Cuban missile crisis in November 1962.

In October 1967, I worked undercover as a middle-aged hippy during the Pentagon anti-war demonstration and took part in Army coverage of the burning of Washington, D.C., after the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968.

I supplimented Secret Service during President Richard M. Nixon's first inauguration in January 1969. Then I spent one year in Vietnam. I was in charge of MI special agents who supplimented the Secret Service during President Jimmy Carter's visit to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1978.

I retired from the U.S.Army, after 23 years total service, as a Chief Warrant Officer 3. I've had an interesting life and have enjoyed it."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Milton Irving Orchestra

"I played tenor sax and clarinet in Milt Irving's Orchestra at the Catholic USO in St. Louis in 1944. Donald Stolz, who played trumpet in the St. Louis Symphony, was in the band. Later, we were classmates at the St. Louis Institute of Music in Clayton, Missouri."

Irving A. Kurth and a man named Milton formed a small band called the Milton Irving Orchestra in 1944. They played for the entertainment of army personnel through the USO in the St. Louis area.

Kurth was born in 1905 and married a woman by the name of Adelaide and they had one son Robert. It is not known when Irving died but his wife passed away, presumably after he did in August of 1979.

George joined the band in September of 1944 and stayed with them until the orchestra folded in around June of 1945.

There is evidence that the orchestra may have reformed as there was a band by this name in Missouri  in operation as late as September 1948 and may have continued several more years after that date.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

George's grandfather John A. Borgman

George A. Borgman’s grandfather was John Allen Borgman. George visited him in Jonesboro, Arkansas when young. He remembered him as a gregarious fellow who liked to talk to people. Late in life George could still describe the Borgman homestead in Jonesboro.

John was born in Attica, Indiana and was the son of Francis John Borgman and Frances Jane Beauchamp. He was a twin. His brother who was born first, was George M. George died of illness at the age of eighteen.

His father Frank served in the Union Army during the American Civil War, having served in two regiments one in West Virginia the other in Indiana. According to George’s father Herman, Frank was an aide to General Sherman but he did not continue on the Atlanta campaign because he was called away on other duties.

John and his father moved out to Arkansas while endeavoring in the lumber trade. John eventually moved to Jonesboro in 1906. He married a woman from Tennessee, Mary Owen Harris, the daughter of Thomas H. Harris, a Confederate veteran. They had two children Herman Francis and Lola. His wife Mary came down with tuberculosis as did Lola. His wife died of the illness, and a year later he married her younger sister Ida Harris.

His son Herman, for whom Herman, Arkansas is named after, related a story published by The Jonesboro Sun in its Off The Beaten Path column. "The Frisco used to have a water tank at the north end of the trestle across Big Bayou. They pumped their water out of the bayou. The tank fell down across the track and my father... flagged down the northbound fast train (106) and prevented it running into the tank on the track."

John was very active in politics, and it was his being a Republican which led to his appointment as postmaster. Borgman was appointed acting postmaster from July 1, 1922 replacing postmaster Charles B. Gregg and served as postmaster from February 14, 1923 to July 1, 1933. He served under three presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. He was a Republican delegate at the Arkansas Republican State Convention in Little Rock on May 3, 1928 and a delegate at the Republican National Convention in Chicago on June 14, 1932.

It was also said that John served as a U. S. Marshal for a time, but records regarding this have not yet been searched for. His only surviving child Herman Borgman became an employee of the St. Louis Post Office in 1920.

George was not yet five when his grandfather died at the age of seventy at 2:20 PM on January 15, 1937 at his home in Bay, Arkansas. His funeral was held on January 16 at the Gregg Funeral Home and he was buried in Oaklawn Cemetery.

Monday, June 6, 2011

From Disciples of Christ to Roman Catholic

As early as 1992 George started the wheels turning on his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith. Here he writes about his conversion to Roman Catholicism from the Disciples of Christ on May 4, 1993.

Father Murray's St. Denis Church
“For some time now, I have wanted to become a Roman Catholic. First of all, Janet has had nothing to do with it. After all, she did marry me, a divorced man, in Kingshighway Christian Church in St Louis. She has never encouraged me to become a Catholic. It’s strictly my own decision.

One reason is that there were Catholics on both sides of my family until about two generations ago. Another is, as long ago as 1951 or 1952, when I took a course in European History at St. Louis University, I was thinking about converting, because the professor gave a completely objective picture of Martin Luther and the Reformation.

I have always been against abortion and euthanasia, and the Catholic Church is actively opposing both of those horrible activities.

Also, since covering high school sports here, I met a prince of a man, a Catholic priest, Father Fred Murray, who is a retired Navy chaplain. We ran into one another at games and took a liking to one another, because we both were retired military. He is a parish priest of a church in Westwood.

Father Murray, who resembles Spencer Tracey, made no effort at all to recruit me, believe me, and, in fact, I approached him at a hockey game about converting. He almost went into a state of shock, because there aren’t any conversions to anything nowadays! So I began instructions with him.

I submitted paperwork, and Janet and I had to go for an interview at the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston, and we were told that my first marriage can be set aside by the Pope, because Ann was not baptized a Christian, and Janet and I can renew our marriage vows.”

On February 28, 1996 George was taken into the Catholic Church and he and Janet renewed their marriage vows.

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Barney Google"

Here is a novelty tune treat! "Barney Google," written by Billy Rose and Con Conrad.
Sheet music for the song.
This was one of George's favorite tunes as a child. He would listen to it on his Aunt Ruth's Edison phonograph. Years later when he inherited the beloved Edison phonograph, "Barney Google" was not among the Edison records.

This tune below, is believed to be the very same version that George played with delight in the 1930s. It was recorded on April 13, 1923, and features the vocals of Billy Jones and Ernie Hare.

Little did he know that the date of April 13th, when this was recorded, would be the birthday of his future wife, Janet Ferroli, who also had fun listening to this song!

So, without further ado...Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Books, Books, Books

As a jazz writer, researcher, reviewer and reporter George was prolific. Especially since he got started in his jazz writing later in life, he has scores of articles, reviews, liner notes, photographs, interviews and research for various book projects.

At this time we are assessing all his writings and evaluating which book projects would be best to start with. As early as the 1960s George was researching one of his favorite performers Jack Teagarden for whom he met, played with and shared a bottle back in the day. Considering he died in 1964, George basically researched his whole life even writing to request his birth certificate from Texas, to which he received a response that no birth record existed for him in their records.

George published an article concerning his first meeting with Big T and is barely in frame in a great photograph he had in remembrance of the night he played with T. Perhaps his biography on Jack Teagarden might be a good beginning for a George A. Borgman book launch.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"What is Traditional Jazz?" by George A. Borgman

What is traditional jazz? It is the wonderful music that originated in New Orleans, traveled on river boats up the Mississippi River into Memphis, St. Louis, and eventually into Chicago and New York City. In Chicago such black musicians as Louis Armstrong and King Oliver were featured in clubs, and several white musicians from New Orleans formed the Original Dixieland Jazz Band there and moved on to New York, where they made the first jazz recording. The stride piano style allegedly originated in New York's Harlem.

During Prohibition, jazz became so popular in speakeasies and night clubs that the 1920s became known as the Jazz Age, and music performed for the dancers is known as hot dance music. It was played from charts, and solos were improvised, whereas the music of New Orleans and Chicago was performed without music. As time went by, along came such bands as Fletcher Henderson's and Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra, and they began playing a more jump style that led into the swing idiom.

Johann Sebastian Bach
All the styles mentioned above can be called traditional jazz, in my opinion. Many people imply that jazz is the only music that is improvised. That's not true, Johann Sebastian Bach and other organists improvised in cathedrals, and in my opinion any composer - a monk who thought up a Gregorian chant, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, George Gershwin and other Tin Pan Alley composers - were improvisers when they wrote original tunes. So, improvisation is not limited to jazz, trad or otherwise.

I was classically trained on piano, clarinet and saxophone and have two degrees in musicology, but I love jazz and swing, which I used to play in the 1940s and early 1950s. I was never a great improviser, though, and I admire the jazz musicians who can improvise well.

I have one pet peeve, and that is when a bandleader identifies the music of "Louisiana Fairy Tale" as being written by Fats Waller or Louis Armstrong! J. Fred Coots wrote the music for that tune. Let's get it right, guys! And who was the clarinet player who took the solo on "Louisiana Fairy Tale" on the original This Old House on PBS? The answer: Billy Novick of the New Black Eagle Jazz Band.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jazz Journalists Association Won't Post George's Obituary

Without any response to inquires, as to why George A. Borgman who had been a jazz journalist from 1991 to 2009, the Jazz Journalists Association, for whom George was a member, has refused to acknowledge George’s death and post his obituary on the Associations website under The Last Post.

An obituary was sent via e-mail to Todd Jenkins on November 7, 2009 after asking Mr. Jenkins whether they would be interested in posting it. Noticing that no obituary was posted on The Last Post Mr. Jenkins was contacted again on November 20, 2009. He wrote back saying, “I've been having a lot of browser problems; I can't get anything to upload properly. If I can't get it resolved over the weekend, I will e-mail this file to another JJA contributor and have him upload it. Sorry for the delay!”

Fast forward to April 26, 2011 when it was again noticed that no obituary, not even a short mention, was listed on the website. Mr. Todd was contacted, again, via the website’s contact page, with this message, “I had submitted an obit on JJA mem. George Borgman who died in 09. He wrote for several trad jazz pub + was a contributing editor and NE correspondent for The Miss Rag. I noticed he was not added. Why?”

This time there was no answer.

What explanation could there be for not publishing Jazz Journalists member George’s obituary? Is this just some ham-fisted oversight or is there another reason why the Association won’t acknowledge his death?

Monday, April 25, 2011

George Remember's The Jack Staulcup Orchestra

Here is a little band bio George jotted down on October 22, 2005.
Jack Staulcup 1980
"The Jack Staulcup Orchestra was a Midwestern territory band that operated out of Paducah, KY. Staulcup was a resident of Metropolis, IL. In 1950, the band members, traveling in a school bus, with seats that didn't recline, played many one-nighters, with the musicians sleeping overnight on the bus. At one point, the band played thirty one-nighters in a row. In Summer 1950, the band recorded for Oriole Records in Chicago. The session took place at a radio station in a skyscraper in the Loop."

Some of the tunes that were recorded during this session were, Red Lips Kiss My Blues Away, The Wooden Soldier and the China Doll, Here Comes My Ball and Chain and Baby Won’t You Please Come Home. George was one of the saxophonists during these sessions.
Here is an earlier version of the tune Red Lips played by The Kit Cat Band
 recorded in London on  June 3, 1927.

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Stan McDonald, Playing It With Passion" by George A. Borgman

In the February 2003 issue, of the noted jazz publication, The Mississippi Rag, George's article on longtime friend and traditional jazz extraordinaire Stan McDonald was published. Here is a link to the article Stan McDonald, Playing It With Passion.

Recently, Stan McDonald was the focus of a series of interviews by Dave Radlauer on his award winning radio program Jazz Rhythm.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Westwood/West Dedham Residents In the United States Armed Forces

George is listed in the Town of Westwood's database and booklet entitled Westwood/West Dedham Residents In the United States Armed Forces under the section "Westwood Honor Roll, Twentieth Century 1/1/1900 - 12/31/1999, Veterans Who Entered the Armed Services From Communities Other Than Westwood and Subsequently Lived in Westwood.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"The Gent, the Crook, and The Bum" - Silent Film Appearance

George A. Borgman tried his hand at acting years before this film, in the 1950s, when he worked as an onstage extra at an Opera House. He managed to step on female star, Risë Stevens' foot!

When his son Eric asked him to play a bum in his silent comedy, The Gent, the Crook, and the Bum he immediately said, "sure!" On Easter Sunday 1989 George and Eric and friend Greg DiGregorio went to Norwood, Massachusetts to film this faux early silent comedy short.

Members of Eric's film class wanted to know who the bum, who stole the movie, was played by! Eric received an A- for a grade.

More recently the film was transferred from the Super 8mm reversal film onto 16mm film for inclusion in Eric's feature film The Man in the Movie which also features George playing a movie theater customer and a silent comedy heavy!