AfroFunk rhythmic powerhouse blending Americana, Blues, and Bluegrass, brainchild of guitarist, vocalist, composer and author Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam. "This eclectic cross cultural mix brings together long lost musical relatives as a platform for Pascal's rich guitar and vocal improvisations" - Jazz Aspen Snowmass Jazz Cafe
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). “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.”
He studied at the National School of Arts in Dakar, Senegal and at the National Conservatory of Nice, France where he started working professionally with reedman Barney Wilen. In 1983, Pascal attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA USA where he received the Jim Hall Jazz Master Award for Guitarists. He performed with Jazz Greats Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd, Donald Bailey, Donald Brown etc…he is the recipient of the Outstanding Jazz Soloist Award presented by Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody. In 1999, he received his Master’s Degree from Cambridge College, Massachusetts, USA and in 2006 received his Doctoral Degree Summa Cum Laude from the Graduate School of Education of the University of San Francisco, CA USA.
Pascal Bokar's previous recording "Guitar Balafonics" was selected by Downbeat Magazine as one of the “Best CDs of 2015.”and received a 4 star review. Pascal Bokar is listed in Jazz journalist Scott Yanov’s Book entitled "Great Jazz Guitars" published by Hal Leonard.
Pascal has been a headliner at more than 50 Jazz festivals nationwide and has performed in Europe and Japan.
"Pascal Bokar and his 11-piece Afro Blue Grazz Band delivered a spellbinding lecture and performance to a packed house...with authoritative yet human digestible dialog, interspersed with originally produced graphics and video shot in his native West African villages, Pascal “connected the dots’ across centuries and continents to the manifestation of jazz in North America."
JOEL GOLDENTHAL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE NASH, PHOENIX, AZ
"One of the best shows I have ever produced...the overwhelming response was extremely enthusiastic, and people describing the presentation and the following performance as one of the best concerts they had ever been a part of"
PETER SWAN, PETE SWAN PRODUCTIONS
"I was blown away by the rich, musically diverse and rhythmically exciting music you made. Your musicians are obviously top notch and the performance itself was as exciting as any top level music concert. What an amazing evening"
ANDREA WEBER, CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY,
NOTABLE FESTIVALS AND APPEARANCES
2023 August Vancouver Washington Wine & Jazz Festival, OR
2023 August Bodega Bay Music Festival, VA
2023 June Stockton Flavor Festival, CA
2022 Mendocino International Music Series, CA
2022 Bay Area Latin Jazz Festival, CO
2021 Aspen Snowmass Music Series, CO
2021 Silicon Valley Jazz Festival, CA
Atlanta Midtown Music Festival, GA
Houston Jazz Festival, Houston, TX
Kansas City Jazz & Blues Festival, KCMO
Savanna Jazz Festival, CA
Mobile Music Festival, AL
Birmingham City Lights Festival, AL
The Nash, Phoenix, AZ
Ottawa University, Surprise, AZ
First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Blues Alley, Washington, DC
Wild Hare, Chicago, IL
Five Spot, NYC