Bob Borgstede: a brief history

Bob Borgstede was an active member of the St. Louis music scene from 1998 until his death in May 2007.

He was a graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he studied with the great 7-string guitarist Rick Haydon. While a student at SIUE, Bob had the opportunity to open up for jazz guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli. It was also during this time as a student that Bob began composing songs.

On September 16, 2004, Bob held a release party at Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis, Missouri, to celebrate the release of an album of his own songs. Entitled Narrative Threads, the album features some of the finest jazz musicians in St. Louis. It showcases Bob’s unique compositional and improvisational voice. In June 2005, Bob went to New York City to accept an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s Award for his orginal song, Nola’s Waltz. Bob’s tunes and CD are available through

Bob also worked to foster knowledge and love of music in others. He was an Assistant Professor of Music at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Illinois. He taught at several other colleges and universities during his career, including University of Missouri-St. Louis, McKendree College, and St. Charles Community College. During the summers, he enjoyed teaching at numerous jazz camps, such as the Gulf Coast Jazz Festival, Simpson College Big Band Camp, Drury Jazz Camp, Southwestern Missouri State University Jazz Camp, and the Birch Creek Jazz Camp in Door County, Wisconsin.  In February 2004 Bob was a featured guest artist and clinician at the Waseca Jazz Festival in Minnesota. Many of Bob’s students have gone on to form successful careers in music. Bob is often cited as an inspiration to these students. He was a gifted educator, with legendary organizational skills and a welcoming sense of humor.

As a jazz guitarist, Bob performed with such talents as Wycliffe Gordon, Chris Vidala, Victor Mendoza, Dan Haerle, and Jamey Aebersold. In addition to frequent jazz freelance work, Bob served as the guitarist for the party band Arvell & Co. from 1999-2007.  Performance credits include gigs at many great St. Louis venues such as Jazz at the Bistro, the Pageant, the Sheldon Concert Hall, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, and the Edward Jones Dome as well as out-of-town performances in cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, and Kansas City just to name a few.

Tragically, Bob passed away on May 3, 2007, after an illness. His music remains in our ears, and his memory lives in the hearts and minds of his beloved family, friends, students, and fellow musicians.