Charlie Banacos
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BANACOS, Jazz Guru Charlie Of Gloucester, Dec. 8, 2009, 63, passed away following a brief battle with cancer. He was a pianist, composer, author and educator, concentrating on jazz. He created over 100 courses of study for improvisation and composition. His concepts of teaching and his courses have influenced educators since the late 1950s. He is the original author of courses named "Hexatonics", "Intervallics", "Tetratonics", "Superimpositions", "Harps", "Overlaps", "Bitonal Pendulums", "Double Mambos", "Twenty-third Chords" "Tonal Paralypsis", and "Triad Pairs," among others. These and many of his other terms for his courses have become part of the basic lexicon in jazz education. The ear-training methods he devised specifically for the improvising musician are imitated in college courses and ear-training routines by many educators around the world. His exercises have been used at such institutions as Berklee College of Music, The New School, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, Longy School of Music among others. At the time of his death, Mr. Banacos was in the process of consolidating many of his courses along with the assistance of his daughter, pianist Barbara Banacos. When guitarist Mike Stern showed his employer, Miles Davis, some of Banacos' ear-training exercises, Davis stated "I know that Banacos. Give me his telephone number. I'm gonna get me some lessons." Michael Brecker once said of Banacos "He's some kind of genius." His students have performed or recorded with Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Maynard Ferguson, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, David Liebman, Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker and Joe Henderson, among others. His students and musical associates include Mike Stern, Danilo Perez, Wayne Krantz, Jeff Berlin, Garry Dial, Gerard D'Angelo, Vic Juris, Daryl Rhodes, Michael Brecker, Jerry Bergonzi, Marilyn Crispell, Leni Stern, Rachel Z among many others. He is survived by his wife, Margaret, two sons and daughter-in-law, Peter and Jennifer Banacos of Milton, VT, and Paul Banacos of Glucester; two daughters and son-in-law, Barbara Banacos of Lexington and Christina and Ross Ackley of Dover, MA; 3 grandchildren, George, Julia, and Emily Banacos; brother of Paul & his wife Trish Banacos of Dracut, and Marguerite & her husband George Salpas of Tyngsboro; brother-in-law of Linda & her husband William Welch of Sonoma, CA, and he leaves many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death, besides his parents, by a brother George Banacos. A visitation will be held on Friday from 4 - 8 PM in the Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home, 82 Lynn St. location, PEABODY. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to his Funeral Service at 12 Noon in St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church, 7 Paleologos St., Peabody. Burial will be private. Memorial donations may be made to "Cancer Research", c/o MGH Development Office, 165 Cambridge St., Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114. Please visit for online obit, sign condolences, or directions to our facility.

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Published in Boston Globe on Dec. 10, 2009.
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December 5, 2019
Charlie se atrevio y se metio en la pasta de talentos de la musica su legado llego hasta mi pais Venezuela siempre te recordaremos Gilbert Misael .
Gilbert Solorzano
January 7, 2014
Guitar Gilbert Misael (venezuela)
gilbert misael
March 10, 2013
I was a neighbor of Charlie's in Magnolia and just ran into a form student of his in Atlanta, Charlie Miller. I am sorry to here of his passing. He was a wonderful family man and father. Tammy Berryman Senescu
June 2, 2011
I dearly loved Charlie as a teacher and a friend. He was so full of encouragement and so naturally positive and happy he was just awesome to be around. His knowledge of music and his approach to developing skills was truly genius. Even though I haven't seen him in quite a number of years since I left Boston I continue to be influenced by his teaching and support. He was just a beautiful person and a deep cat.
Negra Powell
December 29, 2010
I just stumbled upon this notice. In the late 70's, I had the privlege to study with both Charlie and Jaki Byard. He shall forever be a hero to me both as a musical mentor and fine [and funny] man. Mitch Lieb
October 18, 2010
I heard the sad news only last Friday, while on a college visit with my son to New England Conservatory. I studied with Charlie in the mid seventies, when he had the studio near Coolidge Corner. Like every other student, my first slot (after getting off a year-long wait list) was at some ungodly hour of the morning. No matter - a lesson with Charlie was more than worth the super-early rise. At some point - possibly toward the end of our chromatic journey up the scale of Autumn Leaves - I must have made a minor leap, because Charlie turned to me and said, "All right! Now you're beginning to sound Jewish!" (I am.) Charlie had turned me on to Bud Powell. Red Garland, Monk and others. So I knew that wasn't his highest compliment. But still, it meant a lot. Charlie once told me he fell in love with his pianist wife "because of the way she pedaled". I'm sure there was more to the story than that. But it was such a sweet and funny way for him to express his love and admiration for her. As sad as it was to learn of Charlie's passing, it's been heartening to read the many notes on these pages. We may not know one another. But we are a community of musicians lucky enough to have been inspired by this gifted, funny, incredibly giving and amazingly brilliant man.
Carolyn Swartz
August 4, 2010
I just found out yesterday. What a tragedy. Studied with him for 8 years and love him dearly. Once when I was playing a solo he shouted out "that's God talkin'". He used to draw funny faces in my study book. One was of me sweating bullets because I had to play in front of him. The cover on it is worn and some of the exercises, written in pencil, are fading but I still use it. Once I said "I want to be a jazz musician" and he said "you are a jazz musician". I've read many comments from his students since yesterday and one really stands out. This student said that his greatest musical experiences were the weekly pilgrimages he made to Beverly and the half hour he spent playing with Charlie. I could not say it better. I used to drive from Halifax on the south shore, about an hour and a half, and I cherished every minute I was with him. God bless you Charlie.
Michael Striff
July 27, 2010
So out of it I am, I just hear the sad news. Beyond his amazing musical accomplishments, I am so glad Charlie had the joy of being a father. I think that really made his life for him. I know that with me he had the perspective to understand when I could not practice when I lost my father and brother. After that, music was secondary, but he remained the best teacher.
Tom Mullin
July 9, 2010
I just heard of Charlie's passing.Iam very very sad. I studied with him for about 2 to 3 years in the mid eighties .Beeing Greek myself added an exiting momment during our lessons while we spoke about our origins, but the most important thing was that as bad of a student as i was he was able to dig in your deepest self to bring out whatever talent you might have had.So in other words this great genius was able to feed my confidence that the little that i had to offer was worth it .I owehim a lot !i loved him very much!
My deepest condolences !
Ben Coulentianos
Benjamin Coulentianos
March 10, 2010
I would like to announce a Charlie Banacos Tribute concert and sharing about Charlie. It's May 1, 2010 2-4 PM at the Boston Public Library in the Raab Auditorium as part of Jazz Week.
Bruce Gertz
February 23, 2010
hey Charlie, the gone part is a little tough me right now- so I write this like your still here -I love you so much, you had me laughing out loud when I read your letter from the hospital, you’re bopping with the sounds of the machines within earshot of your bed!
It’s been 30 years since I was on you’re waiting list twice. 2 times on your list was one of the hardest and most fruitful lessons in my life (aside from the actual lessons!). I had so much fun at every lesson - especially when I got to the point when we played every week. I wonder if you would sound as mean to me now as you did then - well at least I wouldn’t sound as lame as when I started with you. You so opened up my playing - there is a bit of you in everything I do.
Ramsey Embick
February 16, 2010
It is February, 2010, and I've just learned of the death of my very beloved teacher, Charlie Banacos. Just yesterday I was re-reading letters he'd sent me over the years- without him, I simply wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today. He was an incredibly inspiring, funny, thorough no-nonsense teacher who always encouraged me to follow my own path in the music. I hadn't seen him in more than 30 years, but I will miss him terribly. My condolences, very best wishes, and love to his family-
Marilyn Crispell
Marilyn Crispell
February 8, 2010
I studied with Charlie for a few years in the mid 80's. In a short span of time I accumulated a lifetime worth of musical and life lessons. Charlie is one of the greats!
David Evertson
February 7, 2010
Charlie was my first real inspiration. I still have
every one of my lessons from 1970 thru 73. I ve
thought about this incident over the years..I had
Saturday around noon lessons at the Arcade on
Harvard Ave....besides chords and scales and the
approaches, Charlie was working with me on
time...and when we'd play, he 'd try to get me lost. We were playing "Round Midnight"...and right after we'd played the
head, it started pouring rain, thunder and
lightning...just as Charlie started an awe inspiring
solo...then it was my turn on flute, and I played my
bit, and it ended....without me getting lost.
Charlie turned to me and said, referring to the
storm...."How d you like THAT rhythm section"?
Besides music, we had conversations about life, and family, and humor...and even though he was only a few years older, his insight and wisdom used to kill me....
Burnie burnola, man! You made all the difference. Thank you, Maestro Banacos.
Donny Silverman
February 3, 2010
I never had the chance to meet Charlie in person, but had the great fortune to study with him for over three years through correspondence.

His humanity easily came through that little cassette tape we exchanged back and forth. His incredible gifts, humor and positive nature always inspired and renewed my desire to shed.

I felt Charlie's influence and intelligence go beyond the music, with his ability to let you trust your instincts and the true nature of our learning process, and not to fear or doubt it with our minds.

I love going back to the lessons and always will.

Thanks Charlie,

Jim Robitaille
Jim Robitaille
January 27, 2010
My condolences to the Banacos family.
I can't express how gratefull i feel to have known Charlie. He will continue to inspire me, and I cherish his memory.
Nick Spinelli
January 22, 2010
Charlie Banacos was a miracle and the patron saint of all musicians who entered his studio to walk a higher pathway towards musical enlightenment. My sincere condolences to his family: his work lives on in so many. James Russell Smith
James Smith
January 8, 2010
Hola Charlie, You will be missed in the latin world. Dios Te Bendiga. Conony Wagner
angel wagner
January 4, 2010
January 3, 2010
Charlie once told me that "an object takes on it's color through it's environment". I have found that lesson invaluable in both Art and life.

He was also the only man I knew who could figure out when Greek Easter would fall!

My condolences to the Banacos family.
Chris Billias
January 2, 2010
Dear Charlie,

You once told me after I made a funny joke that made you laugh, "ever since you started playin jazz, your personality has changed." The truth is, ever since I started taking lessons with you, my personality changed. You are one unstoppable and amazing musician and person. You brought out my greatest potential and inspired me week after week. I cannot thank you enough for what you've taught me: not only music, but life lessons, a great attitude, sense of humor, and so many random tidbits of information that who knows where you picked up: Mitochondrial Eve, for example is the woman from africa who's mitochondria passed to everybody's DNA... something like that.

I am so greatful to have studied with you and known you. And I know my father really enjoyed seeing you and reliving his old lessons again through my lessons. I will miss you tremendously! RIP Charlie, amazing man. <3
Eva Gertz
December 29, 2009
I Will miss him as he was a free spirit.
i studied with him for years and he showed me things that only Charlie could. That Greatest!!!
Joe Ercole
December 20, 2009
I would like to pay my condolences
to the Banacos family.

Although I never did study music with Charlie, I am a musician and I had oppurtunity to know Charlie way back in his younger days because I was fortunate enough to have graduated from Dracut High School with Charlie(Class of 1964).

I always remembered him as a fun lov ing, happy go lucky kinda guy with agreat sense of humor and a good friend during those days at Dracut High School. Charlie was just getting serious about music back then and I knew he would accomplish something great, which I can see very much that he did. I remember those days very much
when he played with a group of guys from our class at a lot of the local dances. He was full of energy and bursting with musical talent.

I had last seen Charlie back in the early 70's at an incredible concert he gave in Boston one night and it's something I never forgot.

Charlie even though we never kept in contact over the years it was great to have known you and to have been your class mate and High School friend.

May you RIP

David Arsenault
December 20, 2009
To the Banacos family my condolences.

Charlie i don't know what I am going to do without you. I miss you so much. I cannot find words to thank you for all you have done for me. I have learned so much in the 3 years I studied with you. You changed my life from the first lesson. I will never forget your concern when I had to stop lessons and continue with Berklee. I did promise you i would be back and i did. I promise to keep your name a life for as long as I live and always give you the credit you rightly deserve. You are the best of the best Charlie thank you so much.
Themis Theophanous
December 19, 2009
I heard yesterday of the passing of my friend and teacher, Charlie Banacos. I felt very saddened at his passing. I walked in his studio in Brookline and left several years later a professional musician. 25 years later the methods and encouragement he shared with me are still a part of my everyday life. Not just the method but his warmth was such a big part of the learning experience. He was a special human and I loved him.
Fritz Sigler
December 18, 2009
My heart felt condolences on your loss.
I always considered myself blessed to be one of the thousands of musicians touched by the life of Charlie Banacos.
I had the great privilege of being his student from 1972-1978.
Great memories in the little studio in Brookline Mass.
I cherish those times, the knowledge you passed onto us and most of all your friendship.
As I write, I can hear your voice.."Yeah Man"
This world will not be graced with the likes of him again.

Your the best.
God Bless You "Man"
Keep Swingin.......
Russ DeFilippis (NYC, New York)
Russ DeFilippis
December 18, 2009
I am Jeff Kehoe's son. I am ten years old, and I play Piano. My dad took lessons from Charlie, and Charlie changed my dad's life. My dad once took me to Charlie's studio in Beverly. I remember sitting in a chair and reading while my dad was having his lesson. After his lesson, Charlie offered for me to play. At the moment, I was working on a G blues scale, but I never had a chance to show it to Charlie because I was too timid. Now, I regret my shyness, and hope wherever Charlie is, he will sometime listen in on me playing piano.
Jackson Kehoe
December 18, 2009
One I like...Once, after studying with him for a while, the phone rings in Buenos Aires, as I picked the phone I heard the typical "Hey Martiiiiin, how are you todaaaaay, it´s freezing here in Boston"

Then...we start laughlin, and we did laughed for about 10 minutes, we didn´t say anything to each other! we just laughed! and then we said bye and hanged.

Then never talked about it.

Hahaha! the man called from Boston to B.A. and we didn´t cross a word! Of course he told me a lot that way. Forever Charlie!
Martin Porto
December 18, 2009
In my first lesson with Charlie he said "Ok, let's play a blues in B together so I can see what we have here"... a one, two, three, four... needless to say I freaked out and struggled but knew I was in good hands! Amen! Charlie you learned life's most important lesson "service to others!" Thank you! I am humbled to have experienced your magic.... do well my friend! Your song continues!

Peace, John Novello
John Novello
December 18, 2009
My condolences on your loss, and I am thankful for all those musicians that applied what he was teaching. One was a good friend of mine Bassist Kevin Cobbs.
Paul Anderson KJZZ, Phoenix
Paul Anderson
December 17, 2009
While I write this I am in tears. First of all, I wish all my condolences to the family of Charlie. Although I never met you I am with you and apologize that I cannot be part of the service as I am in Switzerland right now.

I had the privilege to be a student of Charlie in his last years from 2006 until 2008 and what Charlie showed me during the lessons at his studio or on the tapes he sent me will always stay in my memory for the rest of my life. His lessons have shaped me as a Jazz pianist, Jazz composer and Jazz musician and he opened many doors for me. With the help of Charlie I achieved things I would have never been able to achieve such as a 3rd prize at the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in 2009.

His spirit and legend will always live on in the world of Jazz among all the musicians and when ever I am stuck in my encounters as a Jazz pianist I think of Charlie and remember that he said: Playing the piano is an illusion and we are the only ones that can bring the magic to the people and trick them:) We will always remember your Magic Charlie and will always keep you in loving memory.

In sadness,

Claude Diallo from St. Gallen, Switzerland
Claude Diallo
December 17, 2009
I was Charlie's student from May 2007 to September 2009. He was a genius, a tremendous positive force in the music world, and he changed my life. I am devastated and cannot believe that I won't be trekking again to the little studio in Beverly, glad-hearted at the prospect of seeing Charlie and learning from him. But I am so grateful to have known him, to have benefited from his wisdom, and to have felt his warmth and humanity. Whenever I play or hear or think of jazz piano, Charlie will be right there.

Charlie, thank you, wherever you are.
Jeff Kehoe
December 16, 2009

Thanks for your guidance, your engaging wit and disarming humor!

May the Good Lord open his hands to you!

John D'Ambrosio
December 16, 2009
I use and /or think about Charlie's concepts everyday. He was by far one of my best teachers. I found about his death on Tuesday, Dec. 15 and I wish I could have been at the services to pay my respects to him. I wish his family and students the best as they deal with this tragic loss.

Fred Woodard, Guitarist, Roxbury, MA
December 15, 2009
I studied with Charlie from 91 to 2000. He was an amazing musician, teacher and friend. Thank you for everything Charlie!
Jay Weik
December 15, 2009
My condolences to Charlie's wife and family. When I heard Charlie had passed I literally stopped thinking. Charlie appreciated that. When you got beyond your own thinking and just played. I had spoken with him about 2 months ago. It was incomprehensible to me - a world without Charlie Banacos. But the world will always have Charlie. Legions of his students make music he inspired in countless ways. Charlie helped people evolve. Music was his medium, but his genius was boundless as a teacher. His spirit was irresistible. His gift for teaching was uncanny, he knew what was needed at any moment. I studied for short spells on and off with Charlie over 25+ years. His zest for life, his laughter, his crazy stories, his intrepid exercises and emphatic encouragements, his compassion and clairvoyance, and yes, his funny portraits in your study book. We learned more than music being with Chas. I once was in a lesson in the Arcade in Brookline. The phone rang. Charlie picked up, "hello!?!" "MILES!?!" I stopped playing. Charlie instantly jumped up and waved his arm and gestured urgently, "play man, play, it's Miles!!" I will play for Charlie every day! Bless his soul. He is sorely missed, but he gave the world more than ever could be told or measured. Sing on, play on, angel man! We're hearin' you all the way on!
Markus Pinney
December 15, 2009
I only studied with Charlie for a year
while I was going to Breklee in 1973 but the jazz techniques he taught I use in my playing and teaching to this day.
He made me laugh when learning was difficult and taught me about having discipline to get to where I needed to go.I will never forget Charlie and will sing his praise to all that listen.

Joe Macaro
Joe Macaro
December 14, 2009
Charlie was love and jazz and laughter and wisdom incarnate...I still play his voicings and hear his ideas as I compose, play, sing, write and live. May his family find some comfort in knowing that we send our love and thanks and condolences. Ruth Rosen Greenwood
Ruth Greenwood
December 14, 2009
Charlie was an amazing musician and a great human being....he had a tremendous influence on my life as both a person and a musician. I loved Charlie from the first day I met him, and I've treasured all his teachings and advise on a daily basis. He will be deeply missed!
Benny Sharoni
December 14, 2009
I studied with Charlie, 1978 or so....he was one of the most amazing people I've ever come across. As a teacher, a person, a musician: no one I've ever met was like Charlie. He was brilliant, funny, seemed to know everything. The world will miss him.
Darrell Katz
December 13, 2009
Charlie, other than my own father and my uncle, Rev. Frank Andreoli, you are one of the great men that I can
count on one hand that have profoundly influenced me in more ways than you ever could imagine.

I came to you to merely to learn how to play jazz piano.....but received so much, much more than what I thought I was in for. All that I acquired from you, both musically and personally has been passed onto my own children,
and is still being passed on to my own private music students.

In no specific order and with purposely omitting the countless invaluable music theories bestowed:

Motivation, discipline, sacrifice, work ethic, "stick-to-it-ive-ness", business ethic, concentration, focus,
relaxation, how to market yourself and make the best of what gifts you have," floating arms", the 'inner game',
the 'zone', the power of positive thinking, playing in the moment, humility, compassion, passion, how not to let negative thoughts rent any space in your head, tecko ( sp?) , undivided attention to your student, meticulously accurate weekly handwritten lesson notes, how developed relative pitch can be as effective and useful as the gift of perfect pitch, positive and constructive guidance without criticism, subliminal dramatic impact, short /long term goals and objectives established at the very first lesson, a little bit of levity interspersed between intense techniques to relax and freshen the students mind, how to listen and let that person truly know that they are in fact the only one that matters at this moment, trust, confidentiality, encourage questions,
thanksgiving, gratitude, love and respect for all that is good. Etcetera, etcetera....oh, did I say etcetera? All right, I'll just keep going on......(just kidding!)
Because of you, I am a successful full timer and enjoy all my musical responsibilities. I love my private teaching practice and have never been without a waiting list since being under your mentorship. (I said to myself while driving back to Lowell from Brookline after our very first lesson, "Ralphie....., if you can make other people feel the way you feel right now, this is your exactly what you should be doing. Listen intently to everything this man has to say and emulate him!"

I will pray for your guidance and intercession often, as I need to develop some more unique techniques to
assist individual student problems. I have faith that you will not be bothered by this as you have been, are
now, and will always be the patient, goofy, loving and supreme musical and life mentor.

Ralph Funaro
Ralph Funaro
December 13, 2009
Charlie is the reason why I teach today. It all started at Ernie Woessner's Music store on E. Merrmack St. in Lowell, then to Metro Music, Dick Fortier's Harmony Lane, his apartment on Commonwealth Ave, Coolidge Corner and in 2003 I did the "lessons by mail". I was the prodigal son, leaving then coming back - he always took me back...why, I'll never know. We all have our memories that have influenced us all not only musically but also as human beings.
God Bless You Charlie and thank you for being such an important part of my life.
Gerry Bastien
December 13, 2009
Having read everyone's entries thus far I realize that there's not much I can add; so many of us students, were fortunate to be touched by this bodhisattva spreading joy and encouragement. Some of the times when I showed up for a lesson feeling apprehensive because I wasn't fully prepared, Charlie transformed it into an uplifting experience with compassion and insight --- "there's always something we can do". And then the affirmations and words he would write in your notebook---- "go man go", accompanied with a little cartoon drawing.... I would leave the studio with renewed positivity.... What a brilliant being and spirit! " Just Visiting" his car bumper sticker read. Indeed! A wake up call to us all!
David Maxwell
December 13, 2009
There's not a day in which I don't apply or see the benefits of Charlie's wisdom. My life was blessed by knowing him. His influence in me as a teacher, musician and human being is inmense.
Thanks Charlie, I'll miss you!.
Nando Michelin
December 13, 2009
I studied with him via correspondence and got to know him through my inspired me to discover new things and continue to shape my music.....a special person and beautiful musician.....God Bless you Charlie....
Jerrold Dubyk
December 13, 2009
Charlie was a very inspiring human being, an amazing teacher and one of the most influential people in my life.I studied with him by mail from Buenos Aires and then I had the chance to study with him for 4 years in his studio in Massachusetts. I will miss him very much.
Sofia Rei Koutsovitis
December 13, 2009
I'm greatly saddened by this news. A great
teacher and special person. His extraordinary kindness, generosity
and humor will never be forgotten.
I feel it is a miracle of existence
that I was able to spend some time
with this great soul.
Jerome Meltzer
December 13, 2009
Charlie studying with you was so inspirational. Each lesson was exciting and life enhancing. You gave me access to sounds which until then had been unattainable and magic and you showed me sounds I had never heard before. I always felt it was an honour to study with you, and I will miss your wisdom so much.Your insights changed my life forever.
David Hamilton
December 13, 2009
The Best of the Best.Charlie there is not a day that will go by that I will not think of You.Ever since the first lesson in 1984 up until when we talked a couple of months ago when You put my 5 year old daughter on "The List".I will treasure every moment we spent together.I could go on for days and days but I will leave some room for the millions of lives that You have touched.God bless You and your Family.
Donato Mastrangelo
December 12, 2009
Charlie, thanks for sharing your knowledge with me. These four years under your musical guidance has been a great experience and open other doors in the way I see music and especially jazz improvisation. Every week, I always was looking forward for my lesson. As I played the cassette and listing to you, your positive and charm attitude, it was very inspiring. I consider myself very successful in my musical career, because since I was a very young musician, I always wanted to be one of your students, so 20 years later I did.
Thanks, again and Rest in Peace, Maestro.
Miguel Gonzalez, guitarist
Boca Raton, Florida
Miguel Gonzalez
December 12, 2009
One of the most high spirited people I ever had the pleasure of spending time with. Everything about the time I had with Charlie was framed in a positive light. He was always encouraging, supportive and all the while a powerful driving force toward growth, change and mastery. A true master in his methodology. Thanks Carlie.
Jim Logan
December 12, 2009
Like a Master on a mountain, Charlie would dispense his jazz theorems and then it was up to us to transform these musical jewels into the jazz art form. Charlie, thank you so much for you assistance, encouragement, and guidance; it was an honor to study with you. May God bless.
Brian Catell
December 12, 2009
Charlie was a great musician, fantastic teacher and more importantly a wonderful human being. The world was a better place whenever Charlie was around.
Les Arbuckle
December 12, 2009
My teacher, my friend, my inspiration, my strength. God bless.
jeff covell
December 12, 2009
Charlie, It makes me feel so sad to think about the loss the world just got with your passing. Every lesson with you was a lesson in life. You were the most positive person I've ever met. Our time together was so important to me. Even on the hardest days, you always made me laugh. You were an inspiration and a great man. Thank you! You will truly be missed.
Steve Cuoco
December 12, 2009
Thank you! I feel so fortunate to have had you as a teacher, motivator, friend, and example of what can be achieved with dedication and hard work. You constantly amazed me, and more importantly, you made me amaze myself. I will cherish the time we spent together, the lessons learned, the trading solos, the jokes and fake phone calls, and most of all the feeling that I can learn and get better. I am so saddened by your passing, and I owe so much to you for showing me how to be become a better musician and person. I will try and pay this debt of gratitude back to you by living life to the fullest and being the best I can be. If I make it to heaven, maybe I can be on the short list, Charlie?
Jeremy Parker
December 12, 2009
Charlie, it was a great joy and honor to work with you and to know you. It was truly a life changing experience for me. Thank you for your generosity, humor and deep insights about music and life. Your work and spirit will live on!
Joe Reid
December 11, 2009
Dear Charlie, I was your student for two years, even though we never met in person, as you were teaching me by mail, I'm really in debt with you for all your concern, and seriousness about music. Thank you for everything, and we are going to miss you very much. I am really sad about your departure, descansa en paz. Francisco, Barcelona Spain.
December 11, 2009
I am so sad to hear of your passing. We are going to miss you so much. The laughs, your insights, your reassuring presence, your warmth, your knowledge of course. You will always have a place in the hearts of so many. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love always,
Pierre Hurel
Pierre Hurel
December 11, 2009
6 months with you changed my musical life --- I hear things clearer because of you. Thank you Charlie for your patience, humor and tenacity!
Tom Duprey
December 11, 2009
Charlie Banacos,
From the first time I met him. He changed the way I thought about life and music. I always had nervous excitement for a piano lesson, and when Charlie told you that you were groovin, you carried around a smile for days. His ability to take a complicated subject and break it down to it's component parts leading to understanding was genius. And enthusiasm? NEVER met anyone with more.
You meet a lot of musicians in your life and you come away thinking it's all about them. When you were with Charlie, a master musician, you left him thinking WOW he cares about me!
Precious Charlie! RIP
To his family my deepest sympathy,
Thanks for sharing him with us.
Jack Coleman
December 11, 2009
Dear Charlie,
I regret that I never had the opportunity to meet you, but I've heard so many positive and nice things about you throughout my life. I know that your passing left a giant void in my best friend's life. You will be missed dearly by many, many people whose lives you have touched.

December 11, 2009
It was a great pleasure to know you and study with you Charlie! You were a great inspiration to so many people; an amazing mentor, and a unique character. You will be missed by so many people. My condolences go to the Banacos family for their loss.
December 11, 2009
Thank you Charlie for giving me your all for the 3-4 short years I was with you. It's a sad world today but the seeds of your great work will continue. God Bless you and your family.
Mark Rasmussen
December 11, 2009
You were a once in a lifetime acquaintance and mentor. I cherish the short couple years I spent studying with you.

My sincerest condolences to the Banacos family.
Jeff Ciampa
December 11, 2009
I can not put in words how sad and in tears I have felt since last night. At the same time we can all celebrate the existence of this most enlightened an brilliant human being!

Charlie was like a best friend despite the passing years, always open, present and so kind to anyone.

After not seeing him for about twenty years, and not speaking for the past few, I called him last January to talk about Functional Harmony. After the usual warmest greetings, "I will call you back in the 9 PM", he said. Surely he did, sharing with me his precious insights and suggestions — funny and enthusiastic, as ever.

His presence has been as important as his knowledge and information, I am sure, to all that have met him. He leaves with us the greatest legacy in Jazz education.

You will be always in my heart.
Blessed Charlie!

Sergio Brandão
Brazilian Jazz Composer, Guitarist
Boston, USA
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Sergio Brandão
December 11, 2009
Opposites in the same line

After I graduated from Berklee I studied with Charlie for 2 years and he helped me Grow Up. I returned to study with him a second time for an additional 2 years and he helped me Mature. I was blessed to be able to return for 1 more last year of Music and Life lessons from Charlie. I called and spoke to him recently and said THANK YOU. I’ve never felt that I said thank you enough to him for the many things he taught me about music and about myself.

5 Years of being influenced by his gentle soul and of being pushed by someone who always expected Greatness in Others.

David Reuter
David Reuter
December 11, 2009

You were the best. I loved studying with you. Each lesson was a joy and I always came out inspired, even if I had a bad lesson! You have had such an impact on me as a musician and as a person. I'm going to miss your knowledge and all the funny stories too. I will never forget you.
Jeff Williams
December 11, 2009
You are always with me Charlie, I did learn from you much more than you taught me at the music lessons.

Seeing the world, it´s obvious God was in need of some good Harmony lessons, and when you are God you ask for the best!

Martin Porto, Buenos Aires
Martin Porto
December 10, 2009
My deepest condolences to the Banacos family. And to Charlie a profound gratitude that I will carry with me the rest of my life. You invited me in to take part in the musical feast when I was looking in the window from outside.
You helped me to honor my own path in music through the development of discipline and joy. May you be free from suffering. May you be happy.
Terre Roche
December 10, 2009
Charlie, I used to come with Dave when he visited you for lessons. We talked about yoga, everything, you always had a smile and some interesting wild and unusual tidbit of wisdom or trivia that would totally blow my mind and make me laugh. I loved taking that drive with Dave just to see you for a few minutes and share that unique and amazing energy.
Your energy is an amazing inspiration for this yogi, and as I always said - you are a yogi of jazz and life and mastered this life through helping so many!! - shine on Charlie!!!
Will always miss you.
Love, Hari Kaur - wife of Dave Frank
Hari Frank
December 10, 2009
Charlie was the most generous person I have known. His knowledge of music was unsurpassed, of world history - (incredible), politics, of current events, psychology, sociology, even pop culture, was vast. He was well-read, because he was genuinely interested in life - besides music. He recommended to me several "Self-Help" books which were very key when I was having a tough time. He was very much a student of "LIFE" and he taught me, by his example. He seemed to me a completely "self-made" individual who was fearlessly committed to "self-actualization". I not only learned about music, but about having "spirit", attitude, faith, and taking responsibility for one's growth. I will miss you Charlie. Thank you for your gifts. May God Bless You.
Gene Kelly
December 10, 2009
Mr Banacos, I only met you a couple of times at my pilates studio in Lexington. Your daughter Christina, is a wonderful and gifted teacher who has helped many people to better health. My deepest condolences to all of your family on this sad and sudden loss. Joe Martyn
Joe Martyn
December 10, 2009
The Love you inspired for exploration,inventiveness, and real hard work is forever with me and I try hard to match your energy and dedication in my teaching and playing. it's been twenty some years and I am still trying to catch up so I could come back for more lessons. Thank you for giving so much to me and to every serious musician who crossed your path. My one and only Spaghetti and meatballs.....chris McDermott
December 10, 2009
The Love you inspired for exploration,inventiveness, and real hard work is forever with me and I try hard to match your energy and dedication in my teaching and playing. it's been twenty some years and I am still trying to catch up so I could come back for more lessons. Thank you for giving so much to me and to every serious musician who crossed your path. My one and only Spaghetti and meatballs.....chris McDermott
chris McDermott
December 10, 2009
Charlie you had a profound effect on me. In addition to numerous skills, you've given me courage and confidence in myself as a creative artist. There aren't enough words to thank you for that!

As an artist/teacher you reign supreme.

Love to you and your family,
Melissa Tucker
December 10, 2009
Charlie was the greatest person, as human being, friend, incomparable musical genius, teacher and guide, that I've known in my life in jazz.

My life was forever changed for the better, in deep and numerous ways, by knowing and studying with him. I'm so grateful for 20 beautiful years.

You go Charlie, you turned that corner first man, have a ball!!

Dave Frank
December 10, 2009
To Charlie's family:

I cannot imagine the world without Charlie. His departure is an unfathomable loss. I extend my deepest sympathies to all of Charlie's family during this difficult time.

To Charlie:

Charlie, you are my musical father and yet so much more than that. You were a rock in my life, a beacon of light, a fearless and enthusiastic guide who helped me navigate through the often mirky and confusing waters of life and music. You showed me that what may first appear foreboding or insurmountable can be conquered with joy and relish and love of life. You helped me to embrace myself and understand my relationship to the world.
Wayne Reiss
December 10, 2009
Charlie changed my life and my relationship with music...i am forever grateful to you. there isn't a note i play that hasn't been graced by your instruction...Go with God, dear brother..thank you so much. Love
Kit Walker
December 10, 2009
Charlie's lessons and voice will remain as part of my musical life. He was more than a teacher, a motivator.He helped me to confront the difficulties in the music.He definitely moved me to another level.
Mike Arroyo
December 10, 2009
Thank you Charlie, you changed my life. god bless the Banacos family. Bill Morano
bill morano
December 10, 2009

I don't have the words to express or convey how grateful I am for your kindness, encouragement and ALL of your wonderful lessons you shared with me. You were and will always be a great inspiration to me. I will miss you so much!
Dean Marcellana
December 10, 2009
To Charlie's Family,

Hello, my name is Ana Norgaard and I was one of Charlie's students. I wanted to extend my deepest condolences to all of you. Charlie was one of the most influential people in my life. I can't even begin to imagine what this loss represents to you. During the months I studied with Charlie I was able to learn invaluable lessons, not only about music but about life. His pearls of wisdom always left me kind of stunned because of their brilliance and simplicity. Every week I could count on Charlie always being in good spirits. His positive energy and optimism always left me refreshed, happy to be alive and grateful to have such an amazing guide in my life. I will always remember Charlie with great affection and I deeply regret this loss.

Please extend my condolences to all of your loved ones.


Ana Norgaard
Ana Norgaard
December 10, 2009
Charlie will remain a pivotal figure in my life. As I right this, I am practicing (as I do daily) exercises I learned from him. He has left a rich musical and personal legacy worldwide.
George Barnett
December 10, 2009
God bless you Charlie. Thank you for sharing your knowlege and friendship. I'll never forget you and everything you taught me. I'm honored to have known you.
Dana Wright
December 10, 2009

What can I say, you have been one of my greatest musical mentors and inspirations. I owe much of my musical career to you. The angels are smiling because they now have some of the most heavenly music ever heard on earth!

William M. Hoar III
William Hoar
December 10, 2009
To one of the most energetic and kind people I have ever met, an amazing teacher and a profound musician, rest in peace Charlie.
Jordan Scannella
December 10, 2009
Charlie, I felt very honored to experience your musical genius and generosity of spirit in the brief times of my lessons with you over the past 20 years or so. You have touched so many people and will forever be an inspiration to us all. Bernie Bernola !!!
With Love and Thanks,
Curt S.
Curt Shumate
December 10, 2009

We wish to convey our condolences
to Paul, and the Banacos family.

Mary and Jack Raymond and
family (Grandparents of
December 10, 2009
Goodbye to a great inspiration and an incomparable teacher.
Kerry Politzer
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