Where can you find the history of Chicago's famous London House and the Jazz players who performed there over the years?

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July 14, 2015 4:47PM

ramsey Lewis Dave brubeck Stan kenton theolonius monk

You would be hard pressed to find anyone who did not play there. It was one of the most highly regarded clubs in the country for about 20 years (mid-50's to mid-70's?). They also had a booking policy that allowed acts to stay for up to a month and attracted musicians such as:

Oscar Peterson Marian McPartland George Shearing Bill Evans Dizzy Gillespie Ahmad Jamal Ramsey Lewis Stan Getz Errol Garner Sarah Vaughn Carmen McRae Ella Fitzgerald Clark Terry Modern Jazz Quartet Joao Gilberto Martin Denny Dorothy Donegan Barbara Carrol Don Shirley Gene Krupa Red Allen Jack Teagarden Joe Pass Cy Coleman ...and many, many more.

In addition to playing intermission sets during the evening, on Sunday and Monday nights the house bands would take over:

Eddie Higgins Larry Novak Jose Bethancourt Audrey Morris ...among others.

The Ramsey Lewis Trio started out as a London House "house band."

The interesting thing is that even though it has a deserved "hallowed ground" reputation as a jazz club, brothers George and Oscar Marienthal actually ran it as a steak house/restaurant (first) with entertainment (second), so that if you went to see one of the masters at work, you had to hear them compete with customers talking, cigarette smoke, silverware clinking, blenders running and cash registers ringing. It was a great era, though. I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

I found a scrap book of all the acts that played at the London House and Mister Kelly's. Where could I display it so that it would bring the most interest?

Comment: perhaps these guys would be interested

I would be interested. My father was George Marienthal. Email me at