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Bill Reinhardt, Owner of Jazz Ltd., Dies

Bill Reinhardt, traditional jazz clarinetist and owner of the legendary Chicago club Jazz Ltd., died January 23, 2001, in San Diego. The cause of his death is not known at this time, his age is estimated as being in his late 80’s.

Reinhardt opened the Jazz Ltd. club in 1947 with his wife, Ruth. One of the first dixieland clubs in Chicago, it became a popular nightspot among jazz fans. Anxious jazz seekers formed long lines outside the club nightly, waiting for their chance to hear the roaring New Orleans sound of masters like Sidney Bechet and Muggsy Spanier. Reinhardt once estimated that Jazz Ltd. “must have hired over 700 musicians.”

The club also functioned as a recording house and in the late 40s, records were issued on the Jazz Ltd., Regal and Atlantic labels. Some of these recordings have been made available on CD by the Delmark label.

Reinhardt will be remembered for giving dixieland music a Chicago home and for being one of the first musicians to own a club.

Originally Published