The Metro St. Louis Live Music
in the Saint Louis Palladium
Owner: Tony Scarpelli
Modeled after New York's "Cotton Club", Club Plantation was run by Gangsters and catered to Whites-Only, even though they boasted All Black entertainment. And entertainment it was featuring the biggest name entertainers of the day! The advertising and literature were blatantly racist and the great entertainers were ordered to use the back door. Billy Eckstine was fired for marching his band through the front door! The "house" band was The Jeter-Pillars Orchestra!
Billy Eckstine’s band played there, with musicians Charlie Parker, Lucky Thompson, Art Blakey and Dizzy Gillespie (as musical director), and vocalists Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. The Mills Brothers put on shows, along with the Noble Sissle Orchestra, the Ink Spots, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and plenty of others
Many thanks for the content on this page go to Kevin Belford, the author of "DEVIL AT THE CONFLUENCE The Pre-War Music of St. Louis Missouri".
Kevin's book is an astonishingly amazing and thorough record of 20's-50's Jazz and Blues that first put St. Louis on the country's musical map! Here ia a link to his website...be prepared to spend some time there:
And here is the link to his VERY important Facebook page with info about saving The Palladium Building:
Here's a GREAT and true story from writer David Culp:
Club Riviera, 4460 Delmar, St. Louis, about July 7, 1944: The Billy Eckstine Orchestra band had a 2 or 3 week engagement in St. Louis, which started at the Club Plantation (which "catered only to Caucasians", according to Clark Terry) but moved because of "racial turmoil": Eckstine refused to use the rear door, so "white gangsters" fired him. Jordan Chambers, the most powerful black politician in St .Louis (an undertaker), the owner of the Riviera ("a black club"), told Eckstine to come over. George Hudson, with Clark Terry, was playing the Riviera, so they swapped gigs with Eckstine. "[The Eckstine] Orchestra was packed with raging beboppers": Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons, Tommy Parker, Art Blakey, Tadd Dameron, Buddy Anderson, and Sarah Vaughan. Buddy Anderson was hospitalized with tuberculosis; 18-year old Miles Davis showed up to listen, with his trumpet, and Dizzy Gillespie got him to take the 3rd trumpet seat for part of the gig when Davis said he had a union card. Eckstine recalled: "He used to ask to sit in with the band. I'd let him so as not to hurt his feelings, because then Miles was awful. He sounded terrible." Miles did not continue on the Eckstine tour, but went to New York City that fall, ostensibly to attend Julliard, but with the ulterior motive of tracking down Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and playing be-bop music. He succeeded.
The entrance in sad, current time...The Palladium is in extreme danger of going the way
of Club Riviera and Chuck Berry's Club, important musical history swept away!
If you have any photos, facts or memories of this club, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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