Started April 29, 2021
I am Justra Gómez. I was born on the island of Curaçao. I am Curaçonian and I learned to play jazz at FIM (Foundation Institute of Music). But, before that, I would like to say this: I first learned all about music from my father and my grandfather, Pachitu Borschotte. They were the ones who taught me music, and they taught me how to play the saxophone. This is my father’s saxophone, the one that he gave to me.
After that time, I went to a music school in Janwe, Curaçao under the auspices of the late Chal Atalita. After learning with Chal, I went to FIM to further study and learn under the auspices of Toro Colina. There, I was introduced to jazz music. After I finished school, I began playing with various bands all over the island. I played at various Tumba Festivals, recorded live television programs, and also recorded one dedicated to my grandfather, Pachitu Borschotte. I also worked with the Department of Culture in Curaçao and participante in a talent show in 1979, again along with Toro Colina in the Jazz Orchestra at FIM and with many bands all over the island. I also played with Harry Zimmerman winning at many Tumba Festivals.
I thank God for all of these opportunities. One of them was being able to go to America to study jazz, voice (jazz), and saxophone at Berkley College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. One of my favorite, classic jazz songs has always been “Lullaby of Birdland”. While preparing to travel home, my mother passed away, which caused me stop playing for a long time.
However, I have always said that I came to America with a dream in my heart and with my saxophone in my hand. No matter how hard things were, I never totally gave up. And now, here I am. I want the people of Curaçao to know that I am here, that I am back. I am extremely proud to be a part of the Curaçao International Jazz Day event. It is my hope that I will continue to represent and contribute to the jazz genre well on behalf of my people. I love Curaçao. I love my country.