Saxophonist, educator, ethnomusicologist, and UCSD professor David Borgo is an internationally acclaimed saxophonist who can tear it up on tenor, soprano, and a slew of instruments from all over the globe. He is conversant in a wide variety of styles, but he is exceptionally adept at free improvisation.
Borgo cites Dr. A.J. Racy, from UCLA, as one of his mentors in ethnomusicology. Born in Lebanon, Racy is a master of many ethnic instruments, including the nay, a reed flute, and the buzuq, a long-necked fretted lute.
“I have always respected Prof. Racy immensely for his ability to bridge impeccable scholarship and musicianship. For me, he was the ultimate model of an ethnomusicologist, a culture bearer who also wielded the full Western toolkit and could ultimately demonstrate everything he was discussing. But, perhaps most importantly, he has a deep, spiritual connection to the music he plays and researches. His seminar on Music and Ecstasy gave me true insight into the power of music on a global scale.”
Borgo describes his 2021 album The Suite of Uncommon Sorrows as "an eleven-part suite of original music composed in response to the tumultuous events of 2020, including the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the growing Black Lives Matter movement, and the debilitating polarization of U.S. politics that made it impossible to address either of these adequately. Each movement explores a different 'uncommon sorrow,' such as kuebiko (a state of moral exhaustion inspired by acts of horror in the news, which forces you to revise your image of what can happen in this world), kenopsia (the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet), chrysalism (an amniotic-like tranquility while a storm rages outside), zenosyne (the sense that time keeps going faster), and pâro (the feeling that no matter what you do it will always be inadequate)."