Guitarist/composer Pascal Bokar is the embodiment of the deep cultural connection between American Jazz and its African musical and spiritual roots. Based in San Francisco, he is immersed in a whirlwind of activities that cover an impressive array of disciplines as composer, guitarist, vocalist, bandleader, educator and curator.

Pascal is featured in The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide by noted jazz historian and journalist Scott Yanow (Backbeat Books). The lengthy entry highlights Pascal’s life from his birth in Paris through his upbringing in Segou, Mali and Dakar, Senegal and the many experiences and accomplishments he has had with great artists and influences in his quest for musical profundity and depth of knowledge. It also offers recommendations for a few of his outstanding recordings

Initially playing locally in Dakar with a group called Awkaba, Pascal connected with the esteemed French saxophonist Barney Wilen while studying in France in 1981, appearing with him at Festivals throughout Europe for the next two years. Moving to the U.S. in 1983, he began to perform with a dazzling array of outstanding musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Haynes, Donald Byrd, and for several years with Donald ‘Duck’ Bailey. His many conversations with Diz about re-introducing African rhythms and textures into American jazz and popular music profoundly affected Pascal in his ongoing musical quest. Pascal’s performing focus has been primarily devoted to his own ensembles since 1994.

A noted and highly regarded educator (under his full name Pascal Bokar Thiam), Pascal began his formal studies at the National Conservatory of Region in Nice, France in 1980. In 1983, he moved to Boston to study at the renowned Berklee College of Music. Pursuing his education in the world of performance for many years, Pascal returned to school and earned a Master’s Degree from Cambridge College in 1998. In 2006 he earned his Doctorate Degree in Education from the University of San Francisco, where he has taught Jazz and World Music in its Visual and Performing Arts Division ever since. He is also the author of From Timbuktu to the Mississippi Delta (Cognella) a book with a foreword by NEA Jazz Master, Composer, Pianist Randy Weston and praises from UCLA scholar Robin D.G. Kelly, Ph.D. and Willard Jenkins Downbeat, JazzTimes.

Currently Pascal leads two different ensembles: The AfroJazz Sextet (guitar, Kora, piano, upright bass, drums and West African percussion) and World Band (guitar, fiddle, banjo and two West African percussionists. Traditional African dancers are available to perform with both ensembles.

Pascal’s ensembles have played in concert halls and at World Music and Jazz Festivals all over the U.S. and internationally and are currently seeking engagements for both ensembles for festivals and concerts; as well as seminars, master classes and residencies based upon his highly regarded book.

For bookings, please contact Barbara Collin; 323 467 4702

For more information about Pascal Bokar, please visit