Seattle Times: Gary Bannister of Jazz Alley and Earshot Jazz dies at 61

Posted 23 October, 2010 in Seattle Jazz - Comments Off comments

From The Seattle Times:

Gary Bannister, a dynamic catalyst on the Seattle jazz and world music scene for more than 30 years, has died.

Co-founder of the nonprofit organization Earshot Jazz and talent booker for Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley for 20 years, Mr. Bannister was a central figure in Seattle’s two major jazz institutions.

“He was a person who knew as much about the music as anyone I ever met,” said John Dimitriou, owner of Jazz Alley. “He will be missed by everyone.”

Mr. Bannister died Monday of myelodysplasia, a bone-marrow disorder. He was 61.

During his 36 years in Seattle, Mr. Bannister produced concerts, hosted a radio show, founded a record label, taught jazz history, promoted bands, wrote reviews and ran a jazz loft. But he was known first and foremost as a passionate advocate of avant-garde and world music and of local musicians.

An obsessive autodidact and collector, he owned 5,000 LPs and as many CDs, many rare and obscure. His entire basement was filled with carefully cataloged wine. He also wrote about race cars, was a gourmet cook and collected Mexican folk art, particularly from his favorite Mexican city, Oaxaca.

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