Robert G. Koester founded one of the most influential labels for Jazz and Blues. Delmark Records released a ton of amazing artists and are still active after so many years. Mr. Koester shared with us his story.
Where does your love towards jazz music originate from? What were some of the musicians you first experienced and found them more interesting and different?
There wasn’t much jazz where I was born in Wichita, Kansas, but I managed to hear an Eddie Condon show on a network not carried in Wichita from a station in Oklahoma. But I possibly first got interested in jazz when my folks moved into Dad’s father’s house where there was a large 78 collection consisting mostly of classical music. One of the DJ’s on local KAKE played some jazz (“No Nam Jive” by Glan Gray’s band.) Bear in mind that big band swing was the pop music of my teen years. The first live jazz I heard was a local band but I think I managed to hear KC tenor man Tommy Douglas once or twice. Julia Lee was one of my favourites (got me into blues) but my parents wouldn’t let me go see her or Jay McShann when they came to town. I didn’t know about the Monday Night black bands at the Blue Moon or I might have made that.