End of an Era
I see there was a mention in the previous post of the impending closing of the Jazz Record Mart in Chicago. Thought it is worth having a separate post if people choose to comment. I had some great experiences at that store. I’m sure I’ve told the story here before, but let me tell it again. Back in the mid-1980s I would go to Chicago fairly often on business and I would typically stay at the Hilton on Grand Avenue. It was just a short walk to the Jazz Record Mart and I always made sure I had extra time to do some record shopping. I think it was the first time I was there, I was looking through the rows of LPs when I noticed that there were also 78s on bottom shelves. I got down on the floor and began looking through the 78s and, to my great pleasure and surprise, there were hundreds of Prestige 78s — all of which looked like they were old store stock and had never been played. I started pulling them out, one after another after another after another. Pretty soon I must have had at least 60 Prestige 78s in various piles next to me on the floor.I brought them to the counter and told them I lived in New York and they said they could arrange to ship the records to me. “No way,” I said. “I’m bringing these babies home.” So I went back to the hotel, got my rolling carry-on bag and filled it with Prestige 78s, a bunch of Miles, Rollins, Moody, Stitt, Ammons, King Pleasure. You name it, I took it. Hauling them home was quite the hassle, but not quite as bad as what happened on my next trip. This time, I was not only bringing home the Prestige 78s for myself, but also for my friend Dan, who was even more enthralled with them than I was. At least I was prepared this time: I brought an extra carry-on bag. The problem, however, was that Chicago was just the first stop on this particular business trip. So not only did I have to lug the 78s in the bag and onto the plane, I had to also take them with me to San Francisco before returning home. This was about 100 78s at this point, probably 70 pounds I would guess. Was it worth it? Oh yeah! If I recall, I didn’t have any breakage — OK maybe one or two — and I still have all of those 78s and still listen to them with great joy, enhanced by the clear memory of how and when I got them and what I went through to bring them to their rightful home. So that’s my Jazz Record Mart story. Anyone else want to join in?