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Delmark Records is the 2nd longest running independently owned and operated record label, since 1953!!!

Delmark Records is an American Jazz and Blues record label. Based in Chicago since 1958 it originated in St Louis Missouri in 1953 when owner Robert “Bob” Koester released a recording by the Windy City Six, a traditional jazz group in 1953, under the ‘Delmar’ imprint.


Born in 1932 in Wichita, Kansas to a German descent family Bob Koester began collecting records in highschool. Initially a jazz fan Koester’s taste for the blues grew out of the intricate relationship these music’s shared in the 1940s and 50s.

Moving from Wichita to St Louis Missouri to attend college Koester began his career as a record trader out of his dormitory room. Joining a local Jazz Club gave Koester his first taste of live jazz - seeing Bob Graf and Clark Terry perform. Soon enough he had made acquaintance with a fellow Jazz Club member Ron Fister with who Koester would open 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 (then only 21 years old) 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, Big Joe Williams and J.D. Short.

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