Ira Davidson Sabin, founder of JazzTimes, has passed

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Ira Davidson Sabin, 90, of cancer in Rockville, Md. He started his career as a professional drummer at the age of 15 while many musicians were away in WWII. After his own service during the Korean War, he turned his focus to promoting events and then opening a record store at the corner of the Jazz District in Washington, D.C. In the 60’s he began printing Sabin’s Happenings sheets to distribute to customers which in 1970 became a four-page newsletter called Radio Free Jazz. He grew the newsletter into JazzTimes which at its peak had a circulation above 100,000.

“I was the writer, editor, publisher, advertising salesperson, artist, proofreader, distributor, you name it,” he recalled in 1995.

JazzTimes conventions became important insider gatherings after the first one in 1979 was a wild success. Soon after Sabin sold his record shop to focus on the publication. He enjoyed a long retirement after passing on the business to his sons at age 62. He never strayed far from the action and could often be found on jazz cruises enjoying the music he loved.


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