Monday, March 16, 2009

Day Two: The dealers

Day Two of the tribute began with a visit to the dealers' area. Dealers included mainstay Bob Koester of the Jazz Record Mart. It was Koester, actually, who turned me onto traditional jazz at his old store on Lincoln Avenue near Montrose. This was, um, 30-some years ago. I remember the first albums he sold me: the Jazz Treasury LP featuring Freddie Keppard and the two volume set of Jabbo Smith and his Rhythm Aces. From that point on I was a regular visitor (I also attended his Friday night screenings of vintage films).

I bought a couple things from Bob: a Frank Melrose CD and a collection of Jimmy Blythe piano rolls. Melrose, known as Kansas City Frank, was a great barrelhouse piano player who died young. Blythe also died young, but not before recording with all of Chicago's jazz giants and making his mark as one of the pioneers of boogie woogie.

I already had the Blythe piano rolls on LP, but Koester said the LP issue had the rolls played at a tempo that was much too fast. I later listened to the Blythe CD and was mildly disappointed, feeling the CD captured the rolls at a tempo that was slowed down way too much.

One vendor I discovered was a couple, Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey from Champaign, home of my alma mater. The pair run the Archeophone label, which is doing some splendid reissues of rare material, including a 3-cd Bert Williams set that I bought.

According to the Web site, Archeophone "was founded in 1998 with the aim of preserving public-domain recordings of the acoustic era of the recording industry on digitally remastered media, together with extensive annotations, discographies, and rare graphics in attractive, modestly priced packages."

One jewel was a new set of King Oliver recordings that is reputed to contain the best sound yet obtained from those classic recordings. I haven't listened yet, but I'm sure they live up to their billing.

One of the buyers in the dealer's area was my friend Jamaica, who actually brought her bird along with her (and her husband).

We both looked at sheet music (I wound up buying a booklet of Fats Waller compositions. One of the dealers also sold vintage jazz books, including the notorious "Really the Blues," the "autobiography" of clarinetist/marijuana peddler Milton "Mezz Mezzrow" Mesirow.

Here was a short video where I display my treasure trove in my room in Racine.

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