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Label Watch: Delmark Records

Delmark Records (

Label Owner: Bob Koester

First Release: Windy City Six 10-inch LP, 1953

Year Started: 1953

History: Delmark began in St. Louis as the sole dream of Bob Koester, whose love of traditional & Dixieland jazz prompted him to start documenting the music that was happening in St. Louis. Originally called Delmar Records, after the street in St. Louis, the “k” was added later and in 1958 Bob moved to Chicago and began recording some of the most famous names in Chicago blues. In 1965 Bob recorded the historic Junior Wells/Buddy Guy session, later to be known as Hoodoo Man Blues, the first Chicago blues session free of the limitations of juke-box/airplay promotion. Other significant early blues sessions include recordings by Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Luther Allison, just to name a few. Delmark is also known as the first label to document the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians). In 1969, through the vision of Chuck Nessa, Delmark recorded Roscoe Mitchell’s Sound and has gone on to have first recordings by the original innovators of this new movement such as Anthony Braxton, Joseph Jarman and Muhal Richard Abrams. In addition to our own recordings, Delmark is grateful to be able to reissue music from significant labels such as Apollo, United and Euphonics. Delmark continues to record Chicago blues and jazz into the 21st century and looks forward to celebrating 50 years in 2003.

Funny Anecdotes: I’ll get back to you on this one.

Best Release to Start With: Junior Wells/Buddy Guy “Hoodoo Man Blues”

Latest Releases:

Jazz: Sir Charles Thompson “Robbin’s Nest”, “Live at the Jazz Showcase”; Von Freeman & Frank Catalano “You Talkin’ to Me?!”; Ernest Dawkin’s New Horizons Ensemble “Jo’burg Jump”; Lin Halliday “Airegin”.

Blues: Zora Young “Blues Fallin’ Down Like Rain”; Michael Coleman “Do Your Thing!”; Jimmy Johnson “Pepper’s Hangout”; Various Artists “This Is Blues Harmonica”.

Personal Favorite CD on Label: Chicago Underground “Trio Possible Cube”

Future Plans: To keep recording the best in blues and jazz Chicago style!

Current Artist You Wish You Had on Your Label: “There are way too many to mention.”-Bob Koester

Answers supplied (mostly) by Alana Rocklin, Publicist

Originally Published