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.

David won first prize at the International John Coltrane Festival (1994) and he has toured widely, including featured performances in Sweden, Holland, Armenia, Hong Kong, Macau and Mexico City. He has seven CDs and one DVD under his own name, and his book Sync or Swarm: Improvising Music in a Complex Age (Continuum 2005) won the Alan Merriam Prize in 2006 from the Society for Ethnomusicology.

David’s scholarly work appears in Jazz Perspectives, Black Music Research Journal, Journal of Popular Music Studies, American Music, Journal of American History, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Parallax, Open Space and in the edited volumes Sounding the Body, Taking it to the Bridge, Sound Musicianship, The Oxford Handbook on Critical Improvisation Studies, and Jazz (Ashgate). He has given invited talks and/or performances at STEIM (the Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music in Amsterdam), SARC (the Sonic Arts Research Center at Queens University Belfast), The University of Göteborg, The University of São Paulo, Escuela National de Musica-UNAM in Mexico City, The University of Chicago, The University of Minnesota, The Herb Alpert School of Music (UCLA), NWEAMO (the Northwest Electro-Acoustic Music Organization), UCHRI’s "State of the Arts" Festival, The Bronowski Art and Science Forum, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and Palomar College.

David has presented research at conferences organized by the Society for Ethnomusicology, The Sonneck Society for American Music, The International Association for the Study of Popular Music, The International Society for Improvised Music, The Guelph Jazz Colloquium, the Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology, and the College Music  Society,  among others.

He currently performs with his electro-acoustic duo KaiBorg, which explores the intersections between live audio and video processing and free improvisation, with his trio Initial Conditions, and with his sextet Kronomorfic, which explores polymetric time.


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

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