I recently discovered an interesting piece of information related to my teacher Charlie Banacos that I felt compelled to share with you. It has to do with lineage! In regard to music education, lineage is what maps out the “line of descendants” of a particular teacher. This is important because it outlines how the art and science of music has been handed down and preserved from teacher to student throughout the ages.
Charlie Banacos studied piano technique with the legendary music teacher Madame Margret Chaloff, as well as jazz improvisation with Jaki Byard and Lennie Tristano. Madame Chaloff studied with Isabelle Vengerova who was a direct student of Carl Czerny. Franz Liszt was also a student of Czerny’s. Moving further back from Czerny, the lineage continues with Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart. Among Madame Chaloff’s students that included Charlie were Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Hal Galper, Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Werner, Jerry Bergonzi, Joanne Brackeen, Jaki Byard and Steve Kuhn.
The teachings of Charlie Banacos are, to many, a mystical and intangible thing that everyone wants know about, but are unable to find unless they studied with him directly. Although Charlie taught hundreds of people, some of the more prolific students of Charlie’s included: Mike Stern, Wayne Krantz, Jeff Berlin, Jimmy Earl, Michael Brecker, Vic Jurris, Leni Stern, Rachael Z, Alain Caron, Bruce Gertz, Lincoln Goines, Garry Dial, Jeff Golub, Jeff Richman, Bruce Arnold and yours truly.
With Charlie’s teaching concepts, the problem is not one that shrouds in mystery so much as a lack of “flight time” ; with the instrument in your hands actually doing it with purposeful practice. Many would start studying with Charlie and then stop because there was so much commitment involved, but the results of his unique methodologies were proven and would transform a novice into a pro for life!
I am proud to be part of such an important musical lineage dating all the way back to Mozart and Beethoven and my mission is to keep these teaching concepts alive and spread the word about Charlie Banacos’ unique methodologies. People often ask me about my teaching qualifications and I quickly tell them that I Majored in Banacos!
All the Bass!
It’s a great lineage to have, Joe. I’m really grateful to have found someone this side of the Atlantic who studied with Charlie and who I can study with! Probably one of the main reasons why I got in touch with you in the first place – apart from your playing and records, of course. Long live Charlie.