Pascal Bokar



Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam only uses “Pascal Bokar” for music related activities

Guitarist/composer Pascal Bokar is the embodiment of the deep cultural connection between American Jazz and its West African musical roots. Born in Paris, raised in Segou, Mali and Dakar, Senegal, Pascal Bokar has cultivated an impressive array of disciplines that reflect his unique experience: composer, guitarist, vocalist, bandleader, educator, author, club owner and curator of jazz history. Pascal began his formal studies at the National Conservatory of Dakar, Senegal, then at the Conservatory of Nice, France in 1980. In 1983, he moved to Boston to study at the renowned Berklee College of Music and began performing with a dazzling array of outstanding musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Haynes, Donald Brown, Donald Byrd, John Faddis and for several years with drummer Donald 'Duck' Bailey. Since 1994 Pascal's performing focus has been primarily devoted to his own ensembles showcasing his distinctive guitar playing style. His CD “Guitar Balafonics” on Sugo music received the DownBeat Magazine “Best of 2015” distinction.

Pursuing his education in the world of performance for many years, Pascal Bokar returned to school and earned a Master's Degree from Cambridge College in 1999. In 2006 he earned his Doctorate Degree in Education from the University of San Francisco, where he teaches Jazz and World Music. His book “I Play in the School Band, therefore I am Smart” was published in 2008 and in 2011, Pascal authored the book “From Timbuktu to the Mississippi Delta: How West African Standards of Aesthetics Have Shaped the Music of the Delta Blues” with a foreword by NEA Jazz Master, Composer, Pianist Randy Weston. The book chronicles how West African standards of esthetics shaped the culture, thus the music of the American South and their influence on mainstream American popular culture from the field hollers to the Blues, Bluegrass, Gospel and Jazz but also the foods and the expression of the rhythm of the movement.

As owner of the Savanna Jazz Club of San Carlos, CA, Pascal Bokar presents the best in Jazz and Jazz-related music with local, national and international artists. The award winning club’s cozy atmosphere and melodious musical ambiance envelops the listeners, depicting the visual history of this distinctly American art form and its innovators. 


Beyond the Blue Sky – 1994 – Sugo Music

Yone Bi  - Sugo Music

Guitar Balafonics – Sugo Music - Downbeat “Best CD of 2015” Award

American Shores – 2017 – Indie Label


1983 - Recipient of the Jim Hall Jazz Master Award for Guitarists from the Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA.

1984 - Recipient of the “Outstanding Jazz Soloist” Award by Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody 

2006 – Recipient of the “Outstanding Dissertation Award”, university of San Francisco, Education Department

2013 - Pascal Bokar is listed in Jazz journalist Scott Yanov’s Book entitled “Great Jazz Guitars” p25.

2015 – Recipient DownBeat “Best CD of 2015” Pascal Bokar's CD, “Guitar Balafonics”, Sugo Music - 

Owner of Savanna Jazz. Voted “Best Venue” from DownBeat Magazine 2016, 2017 & 2018