The opening of Music Research Library at 42 Joy St. on March 1 apparently marked the return of a record store to Beacon Hill for the first time in more than 40 years, but the store itself had been operating in Providence, R.I., for around six and a half years prior to their move to Boston.
The store buys, sells, and trades “mostly vinyl,” along with a small selection of cassette tapes, with a focus on jazz and hip hop, said Zachary Warf, who owns and operates Music Research Library together with his business partner, Vasili Kochura.
“We love jazz, and we love hip hop,” said Warf. “We love a lot of music from all over the world.”
Warf and Vasili have traveled “all over Europe,” including to Italy, France, and Spain, and also visited Japan in search of the eclectic selection of music found at Music Research Library. The store also buys records, with an emphasis on jazz and hip hop.
As for the store’s name, Warf said it seemed like somewhat of an obvious choice.
“We’re doing music research every day,” he said. “It’s kind of our job.”
Moreover, the store’s name is also a nod to a specific instrumental genre called “Library Music,” which is often used as background music in commercials, as well as on TV and radio and in feature films.
“It’s a niche thing not generally sold to the public,” said Warf as he plays an instrumental track on vinyl from the NFL’s music library to illustrate this point.
The store also stocks and sells a small assortment of framed concert poster and photographs of some of the owners’ favorite musicians. Warf points out that hip hop artists Madlib and J Dilla are “well represented,” alongside an original George Benson concert poster and photos of American jazz pianist, Carla Bley, and George Duke, the late singer-songwriter, composer, producer, and keyboardist who performed with musicians ranging from Dizzy Gillespie to Frank Zappa.
Besides being purveyors of music and music memorabilia, Warf and Kochura, who play mainly drums and guitar, respectively, along with keyboardist Motif Alumni, perform as Zamova. The progressive-jazz rock group plays instrumental music, not unlike Library Music itself, said Warf.
(Zamova also designed the Music Research Library’s unique, geometric company logo.)
Meanwhile, the roughly 800-square foot store is twice the size of their previous approximately 400 square-foot retail space.
Warf still lives in the Providence area, but Kochura relocated from Rhode Island to Brighton several years ago, so they decided to move to the Boston area when it was time to expand their business. Their new home at Joy and Myrtle streets was last home to Cobblestone Convenience, but the space had sat vacant for the past few years.
“This was one of the few places that matched our criteria,” said Warf. “It was also one of the better deals we found and in a lovely, historic neighborhood.”
Music Research Library at 42 Joy St. is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, Tuesday through Sunday, but closed Mondays. Follow them on Instagram @yungvinyl, or call the store during business hours at 617-390-0575.