Jerry Bassin, founder of Bassin Distributors, died suddenly in the Bahamas on Nov. 16. He was 76.

Bassin Distributors was the linchpin acquisition in the roll-up that would become Alliance Entertainment Corp., today the second largest U.S. music wholesaler. Bassin, a colorful wholesaler of yesteryear, was still active in consulting Alliance Entertainment and went to the office almost daily.

Bassin began his career in the music business in the early 1960's when he partnered in a store called Collegiate Sports & Music near Kings Highway in Brooklyn. In 1973, he sold that store and moved to Florida where he partnered with Larry Schaffer, who owned the Vibration record store and Bassin owned a music wholesale operation, Interestate Trading.

After Schaffer bought him out, Bassin had a short stint in the wholesale bakery business before heading back to music in 1976, when he partnered with Shapiro, who owned a couple of record stores. The wholesale business they started was called Jerry Bassin Inc., which eventually became Bassin One-Stop, then Bassin Distributors.

At a time when there where hundreds of one-stops across the U.S., each serving the local markeplace, in the late 1980's, early 1990's Bassin Distributor was one of five wholesalers that emerged as super one-stops, each shipping nationally. Bassin was also innovative in coming up with new ways to increase business, one of which wasn't too popular with the record labels. The company was one of the leading exporters of U.S. albums, often selling into South America and Europe, much to the chagrin of the majors.

But Bassin, a fighter, was never afraid of incurring the majors wrath. "Everyone knew [Jerry] as a screamer, and a door slammer," says his former partner Shapiro. "We did good guy, bad guy very well together."

While most people knew his as a tough businessman, they never saw the "soft compassionate side who was ready to give advice or loan anybody a dollar. It was a partnership that started with a handshake," said Shapiro.

Bassin and Shapiro sold the one-stop in the fall of 1991, becoming the first acquisition in the building of Alliance Entertainment, which would eventually include Abbey Road One-Stop, CD One-Stop, Encore Distributors and INDI. For the rest of that decade, he remained an executive with the company - at one point was appointed COO - before eventually taking on the role of consultant. At the end, Bassin really enjoyed going into work and interacting with the Alliance staff because it kept him close to the music business he loved, Shapiro said.

His son Andrew said his father "died with his boots on in a casino, at the Crystal Place in Nassau. Anybody who knows him had a casino story about him.” In fact, Bassin was so well known at the place that “I called Crystal Palace and gave the casino owners my condolences on their loss."

Bassin is survived by his sons Jeffrey and Andrew, and the latter's wife Kim; his daughter Ruth Gaskins; his grandchild, Sean; and his former wife Linda.

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