[JPL] RIP - Thomas Stöwsand of ECM Records & Saudades Tourneen Fame

MFA - Jazz Publicity & Radio Promotion MitchellFeldmanAssociates at Comcast.net
Thu Oct 19 18:46:23 EDT 2006

Greetings Group -

Received the following sad news today from Hans Wendl - for more than  
a quarter century Thomas Stöwsand could arguably be credited with  
helping a Who's Who of American jazz artists pay their rent at home  
by booking them on tours of Europe.



Thomas Stöwsand, the eminent booking agent and champion of jazz and  
Brazilian music in Europe, died on October 5, 2006 in Schwaz,  
Austria, after a long struggle with cancer. He was 59.

Stöwsand was the founder and president of Saudades Tourneen, an  
agency representing many prominent American and Brazilian musicians  
throughout Europe, Asia, and South America.  Revered for his passion  
and love for music and the artists who create it, he was a tireless  
promoter of progressive jazz and genre-crossing music, building a  
supreme artist roster.

Within the jazz world, Stöwsand and his company produced countless  
concert tours by such renowned artists as Carla Bley, Jack  
DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Ornette Coleman, Paul Bley, McCoy Tyner,  
Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Oregon, Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie,  
John McLaughlin, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Jim Hall, the Art  
Ensemble of Chicago, Henry Threadgill, John Surman, Mike Brecker,  
Steve Coleman, Don Byron, Dave Liebman, Tim Berne, Greg Osby, Michael  
Moore, Ravi Coltrane, Chris Potter, Marty Ehrlich, Andy Sheppard,  
Dave Douglas, Steven Bernstein, Uri Caine, Geri Allen, Wayne Horvitz,  
Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Myra Melford, Mark Feldman, Steve Swallow, Scott  
Colley, Joey Baron, Bobby Previte, Dafnis Prieto, as well as the late  
Betty Carter, Don Cherry, Lester Bowie, Elvin Jones, and Dewey  
Redman. His enthusiasm for the culture of Brazil led to a  
specialization in its music. Egberto Gismonti, Hermeto Pascoal,  
Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Marisa Monte, Marlui Miranda, Cyro  
Baptista, and Joao Bosco all toured for Saudades over the years. His  
interest in category-defying music was reflected by long-term  
relationships with artists such as John Zorn, Fred Frith, Marc Ribot,  
Mike Patton, Tin Hat Trio, and the Kronos Quartet.

Born in 1947 in Cuxhaven, Germany, Stöwsand began his professional  
career as a journalist and musician. He was playing cello and bassoon  
in an avant-garde jazz group when he joined the up-start ECM label in  
1970 and helped build it over the next decade into one of the most  
heralded independent record companies. At ECM, besides over-seeing  
distribution and sales, he championed the idea that a record  
company’s most effective marketing strategy could be organizing  
concert tours of its artists. During the 1970s, he played an  
instrumental role in introducing pianists Chick Corea and Keith  
Jarrett and guitarist Pat Metheny to European audiences.

Booking tours became his calling, at once work and hobby, and he  
started Saudades Tourneen in 1983 in the Tyrolean town of Schwaz. Its  
tiny local club, the Eremitage (Hermitage) became famous as a hub for  
countless musicians touring across Europe. Building upon Stöwsand’s  
previous success and reputation as an extremely dedicated and  
reliable agent, his new company expanded and in 1993 opened an office  
in Rio De Janeiro.

Stöwsand’s expansive personality, loyalty, and business integrity  
endeared him to his artists and to concert and festival promoters  
around the world. His keen ear for new talent and his support of  
debuting bandleaders and less-commercial names became trademarks of  
his company, which continued to promote cutting-edge artists even in  
times of an unfavorable business climate. His contributions to the  
careers of an extraordinary number of world-class musicians and to  
the international awareness of their work have been immeasurable.

Thomas was a man of immense energy.  As well as losing a committed  
and meticulous professional, friends and colleagues throughout the  
world will miss a generous and hospitable spirit with a love of good  
food and wine, an infectious sense of humor and a laugh that  
resounded across continents.  His house and office in Rotholz was  
like a second home to artists, producers, and the friends and family  
of the music he loved.

Thomas Stöwsand is survived by his wife and business partner, Anna  
Takats, and his sister, Wiebke Hilmes, and her family.

  by Hans Wendl and John Cumming - October 12, 2006


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