[JPL] Stereo Jack's /Requiescat in pace

Tom Reney tr at wfcr.org
Sat Feb 5 10:29:59 EST 2011

  JPL: Stereo Jack's was profiled in a back-page article in one of the 
jazz mags a few years ago, /Jazziz/ as I recall.  It didn't ward of the 
depredations of the Cambridge landlord, nor did it lead to what the 
magazine then promoted as a series on record stores across the country.


Yesterday's Boston Globe brought news of the closing of one of the last 
outposts of spontaneous social connection for middle-aged music freaks.  
It's just not our world anymore.  And this leaves only a couple of cafes 
on Mass Ave offering unfettered access to a bathroom.  But what'll bring 
us to Mass Ave anymore, anyway?  Or to Boston?  Besides trips to Fenway, 
it was record stores that first drew me to the Hub well over 40 years 
ago, when I'd hitchhike or ride the bus from Worcester on pilgrimages to 
Skippy White's (r&b) and Discount Records (jazz) and Harry Chickles 
(used vinyl) and Cheapo (blues, gospel, jazz).  While Arnold's in 
Worcester had at most the latest releases in rock and soul, and 
Steinart's hid a few jazz LPs in its classical bins, the 
Boston/Cambridge shops had an endless store of vinyl and a host of 
colorful clerks and denizens offering cryptic insights about what was what.

Alas, For the Record/Amherst and Dynamite Records/Northampton, Pioneer 
Valley institutions that once seemed as essential to the culture as any 
civic body, are both long gone.  And now the venerable Stereo Jack's, 
truly the last of its kind in Greater Boston.

Long live Ed Kresch and Integrity 'n Music in Wethersfield, CT.  But 
sadly, when I stopped there last Friday on my way to Charles Lloyd's 
concert at Wesleyan, he gave me an exact count of people who'd been in 
the store all week.  Given its out-of-the-way, subterranean location,  I 
began creating a Twilight Zone scenario in which the faces of the 
players on the album covers begin to appear as animate objects.  But Ed 
carries on, and he's got several in-store jazz sessions with Hartford 
hard-bop exponents scheduled over the next couple of months.  See you there.

Meanwhile, no end of thanks to Jack Woker for big laughs, sardonic 
views, catholic tastes, and discographical exactitude.

Tom Reney
"Jazz à la Mode"
Monday-Friday, 8 - 11 p.m.

NPR News and Music for Western New England
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131 County Circle
Amherst, MA 01003-9257

tr at wfcr.org

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