Established in the late 70s as an independent marketing company, Thirsty Ear pioneered the concept of specialized marketing to the yet-unnamed alternative music world in the U.S. As such, Thirsty Ear was hired to implement campaigns in this new area for virtually every major label, working with such now-legendary artists as David Bowie, The Talking Heads and The Police, among many others.
In the mid 80s, Thirsty Ear partnered with English labels 4AD and Beggars Banquet and established their US operations out of Thirsty Ear's offices. The Beggars Banquet alliance proved fruitful and continued for ten years, firmly establishing them as one of the premier English independent labels in America. In 1990, Thirsty Ear made its emergence as a record label of its own, quickly accelerating its position and becoming one of the top alternative independent labels within the U.S. music industry.
A unique partnership with 2.13.61 Records, the label founded by punk legend Henry Rollins, led unexpectedly to Thirsty Ear's relationship with jazz iconoclast Matthew Shipp. Shipp would go on to become the Artistic Director of a new line of recordings named the Blue Series. The concept of the Blue Series was born from Thirsty Ear's desire to marry jazz's many languages into a cogent new one and perhaps shake up what was, and to a certain extent still is, a stagnant musical climate.
Since its beginning in 2000, the story of the Blue Series has been one of focused, organic evolution. From free jazz masters, legends in their own time, to some of the most innovative producers working in the world of modern hip-hop and electronic music, the Blue Series has come to encompass some of the most exciting developments in creative music since the turn of the new millennium. Featuring such present-day jazz legends as William Parker, Tim Berne, David S. Ware and Matthew Shipp, and augmented by DJ Spooky, U.K. electronica titans Spring Heel Jack, and hip-hop innovators El-P and Antipop Consortium (to name just a few,) the Blue Series acknowledges jazz's luminescent past without allowing it to smother its artists' desires to pave new ground.
Blue Series Quotes
The Blue Series, has been one of the most innovative things to come around in jazz, or any music, of late. -Newsweek.com
Blue Series artists consistently deliver world-class performances that rarely fail to push the creative envelope- JAZZIZ
Thirsty Ear's Blue Series...has carved a niche for themselves as instantly recognizable as '60s Blue Note or '70s ECM. -Village Voice
Thirsty Ear Records Blue Series is reclaiming the youthful, intellectual challenge of jazz, finding new forms and audiences- LA Times
...a blueprint for the shape of jazz to come. -Rollingstone.com
The Blue Series continues to produce some of the very best music in jazz. These recordings are of rare quality; the momentum of this important series continues to build. -CMJ 2003 Year in Jazz
Credit (The Blue Series) for respecting Jazz's storied past, while remaining dedicated to pushing its boundaries into the future. Billboard
The Blue Series, modern jazz's consistent must-hear- Launch/Yahoo!
Thirsty Ear is firm in their conviction that jazz is not dead and to prove it, they created the Blue Series- Relix
Inarguably the most exciting, forward-thinking jazz label in the United States- All Music Guide
Thirsty Ear's Blue Series is dedicated to expanding and possibly eradicating the boundaries of jazz and hell if it doesn't do just that.- The Austin Chronicle
The purpose of Thirsty Ear's Blue Series is to suggest answers to the question of what jazz is. The results have been remarkable and compelling. - The Wire UK
The Blue Series (is) without doubt the most innovative series of recordings to be found under the jazz umbrella for decades - Jazz Review UK
Thirsty Ear is one of the most idiosyncratic and adventurous imprints in contemporary music. - Jazzwise UK
If you have forgotten what jazz is, Thirsty Ear will teach you -De:Bug (Germany)
The Blue Note of the next Millennium- Liberation (France)