Final Cadence

  Charlie Banacos

George R. Poor '46 of Marblehead, MA, died October 13, 2009, surrounded by his family. He was 93. A jazz trumpeter, he studied at Berklee and also earned degrees from Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Poor served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He spent his career playing professionally backing such jazz greats as Dave McKenna, Jimmy Rushing, Maxine Sullivan, Jack Teagarden, and others. He is survived by his wife, Gladys; his daughters Jean, Sally and Susan; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Len Yacobozzi '75 of Tampa, FL, died suddenly at home on September 19. He was 56. A drummer, he played professionally in the Cleveland, OH, area and later worked as an account manager at Walgreens OptionCare. He is survived by his two children Rocco and Rachel, parents, sisters, and several nephews.

Lloyd V. Armstrong '79 of Belchertown, MA, died suddenly on October 24. He was 52. Armstrong served as the band director in the Belchertown public schools and Jabish Brook Middle School. He had also served as the assistant band director for the Swift River and Chestnut Hill schools. Armstrong was also a founding member and the president of the Belchertown Community Band and played with the South End Jazz Band and the Shakuhachi Society of the Long River.

Keith Ranson Carper '81 of New Braunfels, TX, passed away unexpectedly September 22. He was 50. A highly regarded session bassist and touring musician, he worked with Hal Ketchum, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Wilkes, Andy Bullington, and others. He is survived by his partner, Carol Jones, and daughter, Chelsea Means.

Jorge Gonzalez '99 of Miami, FL, died on November 7 after a battle with leukemia.

John David Peterson '02 of Springfield, IL, passed away December 1. He was 30. Peterson was a bassist and played for the Frank Trompeter Quartet, Gypsy Collabo, and SoulField. He is survived by his parents, David and Barbara Peters, and sister, Jessica.

Eric Laufer '04 of Austin, TX, died September 4 in a motorcycle hit-and-run accident. He was 26. Laufer was a talented guitarist and the lead singer of the up-and-coming band Two Timin' Four, with which he opened for Jerry Lee Lewis and rockabilly star Big Sandy. He is survived by his parents and his sister, Sara. The television show America's Most Wanted featured Laufer's story on its website and may develop it into an episode to identify the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle.

Pianist and jazz educator Charlie Banacos of Gloucester, MA, died on December 8 after a battle with cancer. He was 63. A former Berklee faculty member, he later operated a widely-regarded private teaching practice and mentored such players as Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, John Novello, Danilo Pérez, Jerry Bergonzi, Vic Juris, and many others. He originated courses titled Hexatonics, Intervallics, Harps, Tetratonics, Superimpositions, Overlaps, Bitonal Pendulums, Double Mambos, Twenty-third Chords, Tonal Paralypsis, and Triad Pairs. These and terms from his courses have become part of the lexicon of jazz education. Ear-training methods that Banacos devised specifically for the improvising musician are imitated in college courses around the world and used by numerous jazz educators. He leaves his wife, Margaret, two sons, two daughters, and three grandchildren.