Hey Dave. Yeah Charlie Banacos' spirit is with me every time I play a note on the keyboard. He helped me grow as a jazz musician to play, practice and think like a professional.
BTW, here is a link to his obituary with a recent photo I think of Charliehttp://www.ccbfuneral.com/funeralwebsites/scripts1/obituary.php
Will you or someone Charlie "trained" continue to offer his correspondence courses or private lessons? Is that even possible? Charlie was a hard act to follow. Are you a jazz improv teacher as well?
So you were with Charlie 17 years privately! That must be a record! He must have taken you to the edge of the jazz universe. But man, Charlie was heavy, that guy had the knowledge plus he was a great piano player who could play anything. I hope a CD will be released of Charlie's playing and comps for all his students to have a remembrance. Please let us know if anything will come out in the future.
Thanks Dave for keeping us informed about Charlie Banacos
PS, here is an additional thread about Charlie's passing on allaboutjazz.com
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Central MA
A message from the Banacos family
We deeply regret the news we are about to tell you.
Charlie Banacos passed away last night, December 8th, just minutes after 8 pm. It was a very peaceful and quiet passing, and he was surrounded by loving members of his family.
As you know, his cancer was very aggressive. By the time he knew he had cancer his body was already significantly compromised by the disease. Unfortunately his body was already stressed and weakened before starting treatment and the chemotherapy stressed his body even more. Charlie had a much better chance to extend his life by trying chemotherapy and it was his choice to try everything possible. Even though we knew the cancer was advanced, we are so shocked by how quickly he passed. Monday morning the doctors said they expected him to be in rehab by the end of this week.
You should know that Charlie was of strong mind and in good spirits throughout his ordeal, and kept an unwavering positive attitude during the past few weeks. More than a few of the doctors and nurses commented on how much they enjoyed treating Charlie, for he was always quick with a joke and was determined to live each moment in a positive way.
I think most of you also sensed that besides his love for being funny, and all things goofy, he had a deep spiritual side and connection with God. He spoke very openly about dying. He was not afraid and he didn't want us to be afraid. The most negative thing he said over the last few weeks was 'What a drag!' When the doctor told him his diagnosis he said "Good job with your diagnosis. Looks like I'm headed for the last round-up!" The doctor looked at him, after seeing Charlie in pain for a week already without it ever affecting his emotional strength, and said "Charlie, you're a very strange man."
The many cards and e-mails brought Charlie much comfort over the past few weeks – and he was grateful for all of them. We found many of your well-wishes to be inspirational, and some provoked a few good laughs (we all know how much Charlie appreciated a good punch line). Many messages to Charlie were like variations on a theme: "How Charlie saved my life..." "How Charlie believed in me when no one else did..." "How Charlie lifted a great depression off of me..." "How Charlie made me feel like I was his only student..." It's nice to remember what Charlie once said in an interview, "Sometimes I get asked "Who's your best student?" or "Who's your favorite student?" and I always answer that it's the student I'm teaching at the moment." As a teacher and mentor, his students were very much a central part of his life. The lessons and music you shared brought great fulfillment to his life for many years, as you are all probably well aware. In many ways, you are like an extended part of his family, and he was deeply touched by your well-wishes. He would have loved nothing more than to continue teaching for many more years.
You may find comfort, as we've had, in the following story: Two weeks before Charlie was born, his mother had lost a 6-year-old son to cancer. Charlie always said that he and his mother had a very special bond. He came into her life to heal her pain and went through life as a healer in many ways. Two weeks ago, Charlie's mother of 94 years passed away. She lived with Charlie and his wife for over 20 years. (That's a lot of greek cookies!) We called her Yia Yia, greek for grandmother. A couple hours after her passing, a new nurse came in to see Charlie in his hospital room. She greeted him and told him she was there to take care of him. She said "If you need me, call for me. My name is Yia Yia." Charlie and his family found this event to be very mysterious and comforting.
We want you to know that we feel everything that could've been done to help Charlie was done. We had complete confidence in the team of doctors and nurses that cared for him. How touching it was for us that they even spent time by his side with our family before he passed. The nurse Yia Yia was there too.
While we are all greatly saddened by his loss, he’d call us all “nuts” if we sulked for too terribly long. It’s important to remember that his knowledge and teachings live on in all of us, and he’d undoubtedly want to see that put to good use. So “keep cookin, burn and kill!” and make each day your own masterpiece.
Charlie will be missed by us all. We will pass along information for calling hours once arrangements are finalized.
If there's anything else we can do for you, you can write to us at his email address email@example.com. Just be aware we may receive many emails and our response time may be delayed, especially this week.
The Banacos family... Margaret, Peter, Jennifer, Barbara, Christina, Ross, Paul and Kristin
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