The Jazz Record Mart: There’s more to this riff (via Chicago Tribune)

In the inevitable clash between art and commerce, bet on commerce to prevail. That’s why the inventory, website and name of the Jazz Record Mart, the venerable downtown Chicago emporium billed as “The World’s Largest Jazz and Blues Record Store,” has been sold to Wolfgang’s Vault, a Nevada company that restores and digitizes music. Bob Koester, who owned the Jazz Record Mart, expressed the reason for the sale prosaically: “The rent is killing us.”

The store closed this week. But there’s more to the riff.

No, Chicago, this isn’t the end of jazz or the blues. Nor is it the end of vinyl, which paradoxically is becoming trendy again. But it may foreshadow the death of the jazz record. How, though, can such an indignity be? When Koester began selling jazz records in the 1950s and established the Jazz Record Mart in 1962, owning jazz records was the epitome of cool.

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