Seymour Records was the brainchild of Seymour Schwartz (1917-2008). Born in Chicago and orphaned at the age of 10, Schwartz was taught the cornet by the band instructor at the orphanage. He began in business as a reseller of used 78s from jukeboxes.

In 1947, after accumulating a huge stock of used jazz 78s, he opened Seymour's Record Mart at 439 South Wabash in Chicago. For over a decade, the Mart was the number 1 specialty store for jazz records in Chicago.

After running both traditional and modern jam sessions in the store's loft for 2 years, Schwartz decided to record some of the artists he had featured; another objective, as with many a small label, was to put some of the songs he had written on record.

Seymour Records was launched in August 1950.

The company recorded just five known sessions. Seymour 78s were pressed in editions of 1000 copies and sold out of the store. Lacking wider distribution, Seymour sought a pact with a bigger label, and on December 2, 1950, Billboard announced that the Lurlean Hunter sides had been sold to Discovery Records in Los Angeles, which promptly issued two of them (both tunes were his compositions). There was one final release on the label in the summer of 1951, when a strong Chicago White Sox team with a new slogan prompted Schwartz to record and release "Go-Go-Sox." The Chicago White Sox fight song was also cut in the loft, with musical accompaniment by Seymour himself on cornet, Buddy Charles (1927-2008) on piano, and an unidentified individual beating on a wastebasket with a broom handle. In all, the Seymour label managed to get out 5 records.

In 1959, Schwartz sold his record store and its remaining stock to Bob Koester, who moved it to another location and renamed it the Jazz Record Mart. Seymour Schwartz died in New York City on October 3, 2008.

Source: The Red Saunders Research Foundation


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