Bob Koester Collection

Institution: University of Chicago Library - Special Collections Research Center
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-1504
Phone: 773-702-8705
Fax: 773-702-3728
Date: 1958-2001
Extent: .5 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
Bob Koester was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1932 and fell in love with jazz and blues as a teenager. While a student at St. Louis University, Koester began trading records in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1952, Koester founded his first record store, K & F sales, with Ron Fister whom he met through the local St. Louis jazz scene. Koester and Fister split the business in 1953, and Koester opened Delmar Records. During the same year, Koester recorded the Windy City Six, a vintage jazz band based in St. Louis. In 1958, Koester moved his record store to Chicago, changing the name to Delmark. During the 1960s, Koester focused on the Chicago jazz and blues scene, recording seminal Chicago blues artists and the avant-garde jazz of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. He also reissued Sun Ra’s first two albums. In 2003, Delmark Records, one of the oldest independent record labels in the United States, celebrated its 50th anniversary. Koester is also the owner of Jazz Record Mart, the world’s largest blues and jazz record store. Jazz Record Mart became an influential hub for jazz recording and record collectors. Koester has won attention from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and induction into the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame. In 2003, Koester made an appearance in Martin Scorsese’s seven-part PBS documentary, “The Blues.”

Scope and Content Note:
The Bob Koester Collection includes issues of Jazz Report and Music Memories.

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