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This exhibition space is part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. Return to the Festival site

A memory from Bernard Victor

Back in 1948 I went to work in my father's record shop in Chapel Market, Islington. The shop's name was Leading Records and we were at 75 Chapel Market. The shop was founded in 1913, and we were amongst EMI's oldest customers.

As I was, and still am, a great jazz fan I was able to start a jazz section. Of course we stocked Esquire Records as well as other small jazz labels such as Melodisc. Though I was initially a traditional jazz fan, I soon got into modern jazz.

Around 1950, with the help of two semi-pro musicians, we started a modern jazz club, in a local pub. Unfortunately it was a resounding flop, with no customers. For our second and last meeting, we had booked Jimmy Deuchar, and he turned up with all the Club 11 crew, like Lennie Bush, Tony Crombie and Pete King. No Ronnie Scott. Needless to say we had a great jam session. We must have been the first modern jazz club, other than Club 11.

Also to my great disappointment the jazz side of the business, never prospered, and was replaced by West Indian music, like Bluebeat and Ska.

Bernard Victor

The Esquire Cover Club presents in partnership with

EFG London Jazz Festival partners