Chicago music retailer and host of The Experience, Dedry Jones has died at age 64. The beloved independent store owner was found unresponsive in his Southside home this week.

Jones is no stranger to the music industry. A music retailer, he is the owner of The Music Experience—a popular brick and mortar store located in the South Shore community. He will be celebrating 27 years in business this year and has worn several hats over the last two decades, heading up independent retail coalitions and consulting on various independent music projects. Noticing the rapid changes in the records and retail business—Jones had a concept to try something different that would help drive sales outside the walls of the traditional record shop. Read more from The Chicago Mixx.

A memorial celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, August 8th at the DuSable Museum, 740 East 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637  A pre-memorial repast will be at 6:00 pm and the celebration starts at 7:00.

This has been very difficult to put together. Just this past Thursday evening I watched a rebroadcast of “The Experience with Dedry Jones” on the local PBS station here in Chicago. The program featured Will Downing. It had been only a few hours earlier I received a call from John Davis, whom I had worked many years with in the record business, that our good friend Dedry Jones had made his transition. At that time we hadn’t been able to confirm this information and shortly afterward, my phone started ringing, yes I still have a land line, with calls from all over the country, as the word started to spread on the internet.
 
Dedry was a friend, someone whose word was his bond and there were few in the radio and record business whom that could be said of. When I was in the record business, there was hardly a week that went by I didn’t visit his store or talk with him on the phone. He had a passion for music, live and recorded along with the recording artist and performers. The last time we talked he spoke of how he would love to get Joan Armatrading to do the TV show and lamenting the fact that she rarely gives interviews.
 
He had a small retail record store, Track One Records, in the 7100S block of Jeffery Blvd. However, it was in a high volume area of pedestrian traffic. in the 1990’s he moved the store to the 7500 S block of Jeffery Blvd. and then later to its present day location on 73rd St. just east of Jeffery Blvd. From these humble beginnings, he eventually expanded as the business changed in the 21st Century to hosting “The Experience” presenting artist throughout the city at venues such as The DuSable Museum of African American History and the Harold Washington Cultural Center. He recently celebrated his 100th Experience. Those presentations culminated last year with “The Experience with Dedry Jones” becoming a television series broadcast on WTTW-TV the Chicago PBS station.
 
Dedry also published a magazine called The Music Experience.  Scoop Jackson of  ESPN was a regular contributor.
 
Through the years, retailer Dedry Jones was awarded the first Retailer Award from Frontier Marketing, the first Horizon Award from WEA Distribution for future legends in the retail industry, CUMA’s Retailer Award, Urban Network’s Retailer of The Year Award and Urban Network’s first Most Innovative Retailer in the USA Award. The Music Experience was also nominated for 2007’s NARM Small Division of the Year Award. 
 
In November of 1989, Warner Bros. Records released the Jungle Brothers’ second album, the first on the WB label, entitled “Down By The Forces of Nature”. While on the Chicago portion of the group’s promotional tour, John Davis, Regional Marketing Mgr. for Warner/Elektra/Atlantic Corp. arranged for an in-store autograph signing at Track One Records. It was the first in-store appearance of a recording artist that Dedry hosted at the store and he said it was a tremendous help to him.   
 
The only time I can recall seeing him when he didn’t have a smile on his face was during his stay in hospital following a robbery at the store during which he was assaulted and left for dead.
 
There are so many other things I could write about Dedry.  I’ll sum them all up by saying, most of all, I’ll remember his smile and the way he would always greet me upon entering his shop or on the phone with these words, “Well hello my friend, what an honor it is to have you stop by/to call.”
 
I’ll remember his smile. Rest-in-peace my friend, you’ve earned it.
 
Kirkland Burke – John Davis contributing.
The memorial service for Dedry Jones is August 8th in Chicago.

In lieu of flowers, the organizers have set up this Eventbrite page so we can all donate to the family. Dedry’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Thames and faithful Aunt Jean are left to mourn him and they would appreciate it if we could help our seniors continue Dedry’s Legacy.

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