Winston M. W. Holmes 1879-1946
Pioneer “race” record label owner and promoter, Winston Holmes was largely responsible for Kansas City blues and jazz coming into national prominence in the 1920’s, helping get record contracts for the Bennie Moten band, Ada Brown and the actress Hattie McDaniel, and Lottie Kimbrough.
Holmes organized his Merritt Records label to issue all-Negro records. They were issued in pressings of several hundred each and were sold only by Holmes in his own store at 1704 E. 18th.
He had the first electrical recording studio in Kansas City and recorded local artists for national labels.
He also was a performer, and had a reputation high enough that he recorded 3 sides for Paramount Records.
In the Depression of 1929, the Holmes Music Company went out of business. He abandoned the music industry and never returned to it.