Much has been written about the closing of Jazz Record Mart over the past several weeks by people that have been patrons of the store for years. I've held off posting as my first visit was just a few months ago and I don't have that much history on which to comment. Not sure why, but that is how it went down.
I was asked to photograph a Bobby Rush album release performance and meet and greet one Sunday afternoon, the day after Bobby's performance in Hyde Park. I arrived about
half an hour before the scheduled event, but was told it had been pushed back an hour and a half. So with two hours to kill, grabbed some lunch and returned to the store to peruse the inventory. In short order, I found three albums to add to my collection.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Bob Koester, Jazz Mart owner and Delmark Records founder. He is a wonderful gentleman and shared his recollections of the early days of the business. I noticed Bobby Rush had arrived and was looking through the record bins. We talked briefly and then I proceeded to photograph the mini-performance. Despite the bitter cold, there were customers milling around and more than a dozen had shown up specifically to see Bobby Rush!
It was about two months later that I read the store was closing due to rising rent. There are probably other reasons why Bob - decided to call it a day. I will have to ask. I'm certain operating a brick and mortar location in the Loop (or River North) is very expensive, and more so in a city where the cost of doing business is high to begin with.
I had been back to the store several times since that initial visit and found some amazing vinyl to take home. The last time was on the Saturday of the store's final weekend when I talked a bit with the store's employees. The following evening, the light were tuned off for the final time. The inventory sold to a buyer who will market it on the internet.