Local jazz club upholds history of the St. Louis music scene

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When you go to Beale on Broadway, you are transported to the world of southern hospitality and the music of the south permeates the air.

This crenel of the deep south music can be found right here in St. Louis. Located at 701 South Broadway, just a stone’s throw away from Busch Stadium, Beale on Broadway is tucked away underneath an overpass. Unless you know what you’re looking for, you just might miss it.

According to Bud Jostes, the proprietor of Beale on Broadway, the club has been around for nine years and began when he stumbled upon the building a couple of blocks south of Busch Stadium.

“I was at the right place at the right time,” Jostes said,. “The [original] tenant was behind on the rent. I got a hold of the landlord and, basically, the rest is history.”

The name of the club came out of Jostes’ vision for the area around Broadway. He hopes to make that area come to life in a way that is similar to Beale Street in Memphis or Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

“The last time that St. Louis had an area resembling those two area was Gaslight Square,” Jostes said. “That area is long gone. It was where many famous musicians got their start. [Gaslight Square] was a mile and a half long and there were like 15 to 20 different places where you could go to hang out and listen to music.”

When it came to naming the club. Jostes kept with what the traditions of other businesses located on Broadway.

“Because this is Broadway, there [is] Broadway Oyster Bar and B.B.’s Jazz, Blues, and Soups, so I decided to somehow have the letter B involved in the name,” he said.

Beale on Broadway is dedicated to the roots of blues, R&B, soul, jazz, rock and sometimes even country. Jostes hopes to keep the tradition of St. Louis music alive.

“It’s a living museum,” Jostes said, “It’s keeping the old style alive. Which in many people’s opinions was the greatest music ever made. St. Louis is a cornerstone to American popular music. When it comes to the beginnings with blues and rock ‘n’ roll, St. Louis was there. Without St. Louis there would be a big gap in the music today.”

The stage for the outside concert is made to look like a porch on the Mississippi delta. Shows are either outside or inside. The inside is smaller but there is a warm feeling of love that resonates with concertgoers.

Jostes is able to get musicians from all around St. Louis and even nationally to perform there. One of the biggest draws to Beale on Broadway is St. Louis’s own Kim Massie, who was discovered by Jostes. Massie performs at Beale on Broadway every Tuesday and Thursday night.

“She is vocally between Etta James and Aretha Franklin,” Jostes said, “She has a very very powerful voice. She was a welfare mother who was barely getting by and doing karaoke contest. She would do these karaoke contest, didn’t get paid very much, and would go in and steal first prize.”

It was a chance meeting for Jostes and a friend who sat in and heard her. He was blown away and wondered why she was not with a band.

“After I opened [Beale on Broadway],” Jostes said, “I went to go find her and built a band around her. She has been performing here for eight and half years and now flies all over the country performing for private parties. She now makes a very successful living.”

The nights that Massie performs, there can be over 200 people on the patio. The crowed can be filled with people from every walk of life and they all come to Beale on Broadway because the love the music. It can be said that music is the universal translator between people, and Beale on Broadway helps to provide just that.

For all the concert information, go to the clubs website at http://www.bealeonbroadway.com/index.php.