Sunday, July 29, 2007


In the late 50’s early 60’s my dad would occasionally take me to the space he lived in before I was born. It was a giant loft space they called The Garret and it was over the Woolworth’s at the corner of Debaliviere and Delmar.

He had lived there with Bob Koester whose record store “Delmar Records” was just downstairs and Paul Schueltz. Paul was a painter and bassist. They rented it from a painter named Bill Fett.

The Garret was filled with half finished canvases, washtub and stand up basses, World War II audio equipment, and a thousand empty or mostly empty Falstaff and Stag bottles. My father was famous for leaving the last inch and a half of beer at the bottom of his bottle. I don’t believe there was even a separate space in the loft for a toilet.

Paul was a prolific painter and I still have quite a few of his canvases, including a portrait of my father.

There was quite a scene on Debaliviere in those days. The other end of the strip from Delmar at Pershing was the famous “Stardust”, a burlesque club that featured Evelyn West and her $50,000.00 treasure chest insured by Lloyd’s of London. I always wondered if they were insured against gravity.

Although Nick Jakovac’s bar on Manchester was known for Jazz (this is where I had the personal solo performed for me by Chet Baker) Nick played cello in a Tamburizza band at a Greek bar next to The Stardust. His son Knez is still active in the St. Louis music scene and I run into him occasionally.

Koester moved his store to Chicago, renamed it Delmark Records and started a respected Blues and Jazz label.

Iggy Pop mentioned living in Koester’s basement in his autobiography “I Need More”.

When I was 20 Tracy Wynkoop and I stayed with him for a few days. He took us to really hard core Blues clubs on the south side. We listened to the funniest stand up comedy recordings I’ve ever heard in his studio. They were from the 50s and too blue to ever be released. He also showed us movies in a private theater setup he had in his home.

Years later, after I married, I took my wife and a couple of friends of hers that live in Chicago to visit Koester. He seemed impressed that I had become an avid skydiver. He took us to a Jazz club, got drunk and compared me unfavorably to my dad. I think he really loved him and probably still hadn’t gotten over his death.

There will be more on this I hope. So much for keeping my entries short.


St. Louis Restaurants said...

Hi David - my sister in Toronto sent your notice to me. I have tons of memories of your father. He was a true romantic, just like my father, and they never knew that they had so much in common. Both of your parents belived in the unbelievable - the hopes that get people through life - they are the people who don't have all of the practical abilities to rely on and so the extraordinary is so important to them and so unbelievable to everyone else that it makes them seem to be "nuts"....and they still enjoy it. I remember once after i was married, my husband and I stopped in a bar on Lindell where jerry was tending bar. Things were downhill for him then, but I remember that he was truly happy for me, truly happy to see me happy, and enjoyed it without a bit of resentment or envy - oh, I have stories that might make him seem to be a bit of a character, but he had his passions in life. such a good, good person, with principles and morals, and such a lover of jazz. I will always remember him at Jakovac's where he waited tables while the Dixie Stompers played on and on.

Doggie said...

I haven't kept up with older posts and I almost missed you. Thank you!!!

mommo1 said...

1.) People drink champagne, not Cha paign. (From a previous blog.)
2.) koester's record business wasn't a store downstairs from "the garret" but a mail order business from "the garret" Once a montn Koester gathered some friends together to collate "The Jazz Report", a list he mailed out of 78's he had available for mail order sale. The garret was subleased from artist Bill Fett (note correct spelling.)
3.) Your dad left "spiders" in bottoms of beer bottles because he said that was where the saliva had accumulsted.
4.) Paul Schult (note correct spelling)did not paint during this period, but later, and attended Wash. U. school of Fine Arts.
5.) Chet Baker didn't play at Jacovac's Tavern at Manchester & Ecoff. Your dad was a member of St. Louis Jazz Club which held monthly meetings at various venues depending, I guess on cost and who they could get to play. Baker played at a small club on the south side of Delmar just east of Debalivere. Yes,we sat front row, right under Baker, and yes, you lay on your stomach across my knees and slept, not waking until we got up to leave at the end of the night. Around this same time our good friends, Bill (great pianist) and Georgia Shearer threw a farewell party for Bob and Ann Tschudin (spelling?), who were moving to San Juan PI and we put you on a quilt under their piano where you slept through most of the live music. WHY AREN' YOU DEAF?
6.) I didn't kno Dolly Jacovac thought I was nuts! Hmmpf! Oh, well, we alwaya liked each other! In fact, I have pleasant memories of time spent at the Jacovac Tavern (although I don' drink), at the Jacovac clubhouse (including Shearer's and Kornacher's, and later after without yiur dad at the Jacovac home on Magnolia with you and yoir brother, Patrick.
Love, your Mom

mommo1 said...

Re: 5.) San Juan, PR. Where did I get PI? Thinking of Tom Sellek? Tee Hee!
Your Mom

St. Louis Restaurants said...

Hi David & Mommo1 - Hey, that comment about people perceiving you as "nuts" was meant in the best way and I include our whole family in that group. Yes, they were good memories. What are you doing now? Jovanka

Anonymous said...

Great to read your memories of Jakovacs from the old days. I was reading your comments and a lot of the old names connected to Jakovacs to my dad, Bill Mason. He remembers all of these names well, especially Bob Koester, who turned my Dad on to Jelly Roll Morton, Lu Watters and other traditional jazz greats. My Dad was a member of the Dixie Stompers back then, along with Glenn Meyer, Jimmy Haislip and others. My dad had some very fond memories of your father Jerry Udell, who was known back then as the "friendly green giant".