Columbia Star

Columbia native launches Think Jazz Columbia, a new jazz performance and education organization

You can go home again, Bryson Borgstedt has discovered. Just don’t expect the jazz landscape to have remained the same while you were away.

Back in Columbia for several years now, teaching on the Presbyterian College music faculty and playing with area ensembles, Borgstedt now has established an organization to further cultivate community interest in jazz through performance and education.

The Dreher High School graduate fell for the saxophone in middle school and was playing in area clubs such as Green Streets by the time he was in college. He was away making military music at West Point, as well as plaintiff saxophone riffs with the U. S. Military Academy’s Jazz Knights, while Columbia was acquiring a taste for the originally- American music form.

“ The University of South Carolina, from which I earned both my bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in commercial music and jazz, has been building an enviable reputation for its jazz programming,” said Borgstedt from his home studio in Irmo. “Meanwhile, most of the area high school bands have established jazz ensembles, so interest and knowledge of jazz has proliferated.”

The soon-to-be nonprofit organization’s most notable element will be a committed Sunday afternoon gig at Senate’s End (the last block of Senate Street, off Huger Street, overlooking the river).

“Think Jazz Orchestra, our resident ensemble of eight, comprised of the area’s top jazz musicians, will begin at 2 p.m. January 8. For this inaugural event, we will be joined by special guests Craig Butterfield, Roland Haynes ,and Kevin Jones for a full afternoon of jazz.”

As founder of Think Jazz Columbia, Borgstedt is also musical director for the sustainable series. “I am signing up school jazz groups as fast as I can. As a music educator, I am so proud to be able to offer our young musicians a Sunday afternoon venue for their talent, without them, or their families, having to frequent a bar.

Sunday afternoons also are when top local jazz musicians are available, so the chance for our young jazz musicians to hear and sit in with veteran musicians makes this an ideal educational situation,” said Borgstedt, who previously served as jazz director at Claflin University.

The music goes on until 5 p. m. “ For those who wish to come as early as 11 a.m., Senate’s End will be serving a reasonably priced brunch from a set menu prior to the 2 p.m. countdown,” Borgstedt said.

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