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Premier Jazz Booking Agent Thomas Stowsand Dies at 59

Thomas Stowsand, the renowned booking agent who founded Saudades Tourneen in 1983, passed away on Oct. 5 in Schwaz, Austria after a long battle with cancer. He was 59.

Despite operating in what is generally considered a cutthroat field, Stowsand was trusted and beloved by many musicians the world over for his passion and love of jazz and Brazilian music and the artists who create it. He was a tireless promoter and supporter of all sorts of progressive and genre-defying music, which Saudades Tourneen’s roster represented.

Stowsand was born in 1947 in Cuxhaven, Germany and discovered a passion for music at an early age. He began his professional career as a journalist and musician, playing cello and bassoon in an avant-jazz group when he joined the fledgling ECM label in 1970. Stowsand played a significant role in ECM’s development as one of experimental music’s most respected and heralded record companies, overseeing distribution and sales and organizing concert tours for its artists. The latter duty soon grew to such an intense degree-he was booking major concerts for Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny-that Stowsand decided to make it a full-time endeavor by forming a booking agency.

Saudades Tourneen produced and promoted countless tours and concerts by such musical luminaries as Ornette Coleman, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Henry Threadgill, Carla Bley, Don Cherry, McCoy Tyner, John Scofield, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Egberto Gismonti, John Zorn, Fred Frith, the Kronos Quartet and hundreds of others. Stowsand’s irreproachable reputation as an extremely dedicated, loyal and reliable agent allowed him to expand to Rio de Janeiro in 1993. Up until his death, Stowsand remained as energetic and committed to the cause as ever, and his absence will truly be mourned amongst the thousands of musicians he touched over the years.

Thomas Stowsand is survived by his wife and business partner, Anna Takats, as well as his sister and her family.

Originally Published