The Metro St. Louis Live Music
Owner: Jordan Chambers
...with Count Basie & Spider Burke
...with Josephine Baker
Jackie Wilson in the house!
The late, great Jordan Chambers,
Politician, activist, Mortician and club owner!
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.
I got this note from J T Tyler on 7-27-15:
As a kid I lived almost directly behind the club and would often raise my bedroom window to hear the bands play.
I recall a number of blues and r&b greats who played there like BB King, Temptations, Ike and Tina turner, 4 Tops and quite a few others.
Lionel Hampton at Riviera!
Here's a list, compiled by Demetri, of Jazz greats that played Club Riviera:
Here's a photo of The People's Mortuary hearse, owned by Jordan Chambers
(photo courtesy Dawn Stronstad)
If you have any photos, facts or memories of this club, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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