Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Bergstrom, Barry Bruce
Bergstrom, Barry Bruce: saxophone, clarinet and flute. b 21 January 1953 Kennewick WA. Parents: Clifford Erwin Bergstrom, b 21 March 1915, died 25 January 1990, Agnes Louise Gravelle/Bergstrom b 21 August 1922.
Siblings: Gail Marlene b 6 June 1940, Judith Barbara b 29 August 1942, Clifford Erwin, Jr. b 6 February 1945, Garry Allan b 13 December 1958.
Father was of Swedish extraction, Mother French- Canadian and American Indian (Abenaki). Father played piano "by ear", Mother played violin in her youth. The only musician among his siblings. Was taught clarinet first in 5th grade by his brother- in-law, Brent Bohall, then studied with Hal Scott and Gary Potter. Took up the flute in 9th grade, along with the saxophone and upright bass. Played in rock bands in high school, including "After Tomorrow" and "Wrestling Dog". Played clarinet with the local symphony in high school and received their "Young Artist" award. Quit playing in 1971 after high school, then resumed playing in 1976. Attended Columbia Basin Community College, received A.A.S. Studied saxophone then with Don McMaster and Greg Metcalf. Attended one semester at Central Washington University in Ellensburg WA. Moved to Oakland CA in 1978, played in R & B bands and recorded as a sideman for jingles and local bands in San Francisco. Moved back to Washington state in 1982 and played with fusion bands "Blue Pages" and "17 Mile Drive". Lived in Las Vegas NV in the late 1980's, playing with many shows and bands. Returned again to Kennewick in late 1989 upon notice of his father's impending death. Worked on cruise ships for Carnival Cruise Lines 1993-94. Health problems in 1995 (kidney stones). Recorded first album as a leader in 1996; "I Remember Clifford". This let to many dates around the Northwest with local rhythm sections. Toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, under the direction of Buddy Morrow (Moe Zudikoff) in 1997. Joined Harry James Orchestra in 1998. Toured U.S. and Japan with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, under the direction of Larry O'Brien, in 1999. Worked for Columbia Artists Management Inc. in New York City from 1998-2004 as both a musician and company/road manager doing numerous U.S. tours, including: Harry James Orchestra featuring Marilyn King and the Lancers "The Songs That Won World War II", Hoagy Carmichael "A Centennial Celebration", Cab Calloway's "Legacy Of Swing", off Broadway production "Our Sinatra", blues tour "Front Porch Blues", and the "Newport Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Tour". The Newport tour was a life changing event, getting to perform with Cedar Walton, Peter Washington, Howard Alden, Lewis Nash, Randy Brecker, James Carter and James Moody. Their encouragement and support inspired Barry on a new path as a soloist. Also meeting and striking up a friendship of immediate familiarity with Joe Lovano in NYC led Barry to pursue what he had wanted to do for a long time: a career as a soloist and exploring his fascination with the music of the late Jim Pepper. Joe Lovano encouraged Barry to delve deep into this music, a fusion of Native American music and Jazz. Health problems again in 2005-06 (Staghorn calculi: kidney stone the size of a chicken egg) led to Barry dying on the operating table, being revived, but having to take many months to recover as the abdominal pressure of playing was too painful. As of 2007, Barry continues playing the music of Jim Pepper, exploring the avant-garde, mixed with deep, firm roots in the tradition.
Influences include: Claude Debussy, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Pharoah Sanders, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Dave Liebman, Don Cherry, Jim Pepper, et al.
As a leader;
"I Remember Clifford", 1996
As a sideman;
"Brother And Sister" (Scott Wilburn) 1996,
"Reminiscing Harry, Volumes II, III and IV" (Harry James Orchestra under the direction of Fred Radke) 1998-2004.
Barry has taught at Columbia Basin College and Whitman College (Walla Walla WA), continues to teach privately, adjudicate educational jazz festivals and tour as much as possible.
A new CD recording of Jim Pepper's music should be released in August 2007.