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Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Jas Cafe
Pascal Bokar’s Afro Blues Grazz Band
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Aug 15, 2021
6:15 PM
Born in Paris, France and raised in Mali and Senegal, West Africa, Pascal Bokar had a chance growing up to hear the musical, harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, dance and spoken words traditions of West African music and culture that informed his heritage through the musical legacies of instruments such as the Ngoni (banjo) or balafon (ancestor of xylophone) which will later define the early cultural and musical foundations of the American South through the migrations of West Africans through the Atlantic Slave Trade (1550-1888).

Throughout his productive musical career, guitarist/vocalist Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam has always understood the connections between West African music and the sounds of the American South. His landmark book “From Timbuktu to the Mississippi Delta” with a foreword by NEA Jazz Master, Composer, Pianist Randy Weston, discusses the music of the three empires that dominated the culture of West Africa starting in the 6th century, tracing the music from its role in the culture and daily life of Africa to its eventual emergence in the United States. In his teachings, lectures and music (where he displays his own individual voice), Pascal has consistently paid tribute to his ancestors. “As a musician, I have always tried to synthesize the convergence of African esthetics and appreciate their influence in the music of the African American communities of the American South, from the rural sounds of the Blues and Gospel into this music we call Jazz.”


As an accomplished jazz guitarist and scholar of African music and Jazz he consistently heard clear examples of African musical concepts and instruments throughout his musical explorations. In both projects he brought together accomplished musicians from Appalachia’s bluegrass style with Senegalese master drummers, African-American Rhythm and Blues singers, funky keyboards, and the stomp/clap percussion of a gospel choir. This eclectic cross cultural mix brings together long lost musical relatives as a platform for Pascal’s rich guitar and vocal improvisation. Pascal Bokar is the Father of the “AfroBlueGrazz” sound.

Learn more here.
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