Delmark Records is the oldest American jazz and blues independent record label. It was founded in 1958 and is based in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The label originated in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1953, when owner Bob Koester released a recording of the Windy City Six, a traditional jazz group, under the "Delmar" imprint.
Bob Koester began collecting records in high school. Initially a jazz fan, Koester also developed a taste for the blues from the intricate relationship these musics shared in the 1940s and 1950s. Moving from Wichita to St Louis, Missouri, to attend college, Koester began his career as a record trader in his dormitory room. Joining a local Jazz Club gave Koester his first taste of live jazz, seeing Clark Terry perform. Koester made acquaintance with a fellow Jazz Club member, Ron Fister, with whom he opened his first record shop - K & F Sales. Shortly after opening in an old restaurant storefront, they changed the name to the Blue Note Record Shop. About a year after this joint venture, Fister and Koester decided to part ways, with Koester moving to a new location on the corner of Delmar and Oliver streets in St Louis. Taking the name from the street his shop was on, Koester recorded a local jazz group the Windy City Six in 1953. Shortly thereafter, Koester searched out and found local talent in bluesmen such as Speckled Red, James Crutchfield, Big Joe Williams and J.D. Short.
After a period in St Louis, Koester moved to Chicago in August 1958. He bought out the record shop Seymour's Jazz Mart, and in renaming the storefront the Jazz Record Mart, Delmark Records found its new home in the basement of the record shop.
1. Yellow Fire - Franz Jackson & the Salty Dogs
2. Rainbow Mist - Coleman Hawkins
3. Night in Tunisia - Barrett Deems Big Band
4. Cake Walkin' Babies from Home - Art Hodes (prev. unissued on CD)
5. Blue Stroll - Ira Sullivan with Jodie Christian
6. Two Little Words - Francine Griffin
7. Wilhelmenia - Cecil Payne with Eric Alexander & Lin Halliday
8. March of the Transients - Muhal Richard Abrams
9. Pick Up on Tab, Pt. 1 - Tab Smith (prev. unissued on CD)
10. My Friend Eddie - Kevin O'Donnell's Quality Six
11. Laura - Jimmy Forrest
12. Like-Coping - Jeff Parker
13. Jahne's Waltz - Roy Campbell
14. You Talkin' to Me?! - Frank Catalano & Von Freeman
1. Panther - Malachi Thompson (prev. unissued on CD)
2. Robbins' Nest - Sir Charles Thompson
3. Parker's Mood - Sonny Stitt (prev. unissued on CD)
4. Royal Garden Blues - Windy City Six (prev. unissued on CD)
5. Zero - Roscoe Mitchell
6. Mellow Mama Blues - Dinah Washington
7. Lady Charlotte - Zane Massey
8. The Tungflec Treaty - Chicago Underground Trio
9. Diggin' the Count - Illinois Jacquet
10. Ladies in Love - Fred Anderson
11. Weary Blues - Bay City Jazz Band
12. One More Once - Ken Vandermark
13. El Is a Sound Of Joy - Sun Ra & the Arkestra
14. Revelations - Archie Shepp/Ritual Trio
From the liner notes: The past half-century of jazz, from the Chicago perspective of Delmark Records, is a bit different than you'd find if you plumbed the catalog of any other label. It's more fun, stranger, grittier and more intimate than the music typically purveyed by major companies, and less pretentious, mannered, abstract and impressionist than the bulk of the sounds promoted by the many other small, independent imprints scattered around the world. The Delmark guarantee of genuine jazz and blues, played without compromise, is the result of Delmark principal Bob Koester's way of doing things. And after 50 years, we've still got it!