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OBITUARY | THOMAS STÖWSAND

Thomas 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 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, Ravi Coltrane, Chris Potter, Marty Ehrlich, Andy Sheppard, Dave Douglas, Steven Bernstein, Uri Caine, Geri Allen, Wayne Horvitz, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, 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, 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, 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.

October 12, 2006

by Hans Wendl and John Cumming

Upcoming Tours

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STEVE COLEMAN AND REFLEX
March/April 2017
ZORN BY ZORN
March/April 2017
CARLA BLEY „TRIOS“
May / June 2017
OREGON
June/July 2017
THE BAD PLUS
July 2017
COLIN STETSON solo
September 2017
PETER EVANS ENSEMBLE
September 2017
STEVEN BERNSTEIN - SEXMOB
September/October
JON IRABAGON QUARTET
September / October 2017
AVA MENDOZA UNNATURAL WAYS TRIO
September/ October 2017
STEVE COLEMAN AND FIVE ELEMENTS
October / November 2017
HENRI TEXIER HOPE QUARTET
October/November 2017
NELS CLINE LOVERS
October/ November 2017
PETER EVANS SEPTET
October / November 2017
URI CAINE solo
October / November 2017
TIM BERNE SNAKEOIL
November 2017
DANS DANS
November 2017
MEDESKI`s - Mad Skillet
November/December 2017
RALPH TOWNER SOLO
November 2017
THE BAD PLUS
November / December 2017
SYLVIE COURVOISIER/MARK FELDMAN DUO
November / December 2017
Shanir Blumenkranz`ABRAXAS
November/ December 2017
POTTER - TABORN - HARLAND
November / December 2017
PETER EVANS TRIO
December 2017
FRED FRITH solo
January/February 2018
TIM BERNE " BIG SATAN"
February/March 2018
RALPH TOWNER solo
February 2018
JIM BLACK - MALAMUTE
April/May 2018
KRONOS QUARTET
October/November 2018
MYRA MELFORD „SNOWY EGRET“
November/December 2018
Saudades Tourneen GmbH
Rotholz 369 a | 6220 Buch in Tirol | (Austria)

Tel.: +43 5244 61151
Fax: +43 5244 61155
saudades@saudades.at