David Borgo

saxophonist, composer, ethnomusicologist, professor

Find Sync or Swarm: Improvising Music in a Complex Age (Revised Edition) at Bloomsbury or at Amazon

David Borgo is a Professor of Music at UC San Diego where he teaches in the Integrative Studies and Jazz and Music of the African Diaspora Programs. He has a B.M. degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Ethnomusicology from UCLA. He joined the UCSD faculty in 2002 and served as the Department Chair from 2017-2020. He is affiliated faculty in Ethnic Studies and Cognitive Science. David received a 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award from the African and African American Studies Research Project and a 2020 Diversity Equity and Inclusion Teaching Award. 

At the age of 24, David won the International John Coltrane Competition. Since then he has toured extensively, including performances in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North, Central, and South America, and he has released twelve CDs and one DVD of original music on a variety of record labels (Cadence Jazz, Resurgent Music, pfMentum, OA2 Records, Circumvention Music)

David has been fortunate to study with and/or perform alongside many of the greatest jazz musicians, including Herbie Hancock, David Liebman, Billy Higgins, Kenny Burrell, Gerald Wilson, Harold Land, David Baker, Snooky Young, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Sam Rivers, John Tchicai, Anthony Davis, and Mark Dresser. In addition to jazz and improvised music, David performs electro-acoustic improvisation with KaiBorg and intricate polyrhythmic music with Kronomorfic.

Borgo has the history of the music down pat... He touches on the past, teases with the future, but mainly speaks in the present tense.

–  Frank Rubolino, All About Jazz

"His music is often incredibly kaleidoscopic and diverse, embracing a huge range of aesthetics."

–Jazz Corner

There's a wonderful energy running throughout ... This is great music played with passion by great players.

–  Michael Bettine, Jazz Now

... [a] modernist with a large record collection, big ears, and like-minded colleagues.

–  Stuart Kremsky, Cadence

On soprano Borgo weaves delicate patterns across the music, while on other tracks he sets a classic big-hearted tenor sound in dialogue with avantgarde spikiness.

–  Nate Doward, Coda

Borgo's music splashes all over the jazz spectrum, from swing to free... [He] has a lovely warm tone on tenor sax and a gracious one on soprano.

–  Francois Couture, All Music Guide

'Initial Conditions' will spend more time in your deck than any Wynton Marsalis record—or even anything Sonny Rollins has done in about 40 years. It’s got the feel.

  -– Greg Burk, LA Weekly contributor