AUM Fidelity

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AUM Fidelity
AUMFidelity LOGO.jpg
Founded 1997
Founder Steven Joerg
Genre Jazz, Avant-garde jazz, Free Jazz, Indie rock
Country of origin United States
Location Brooklyn, New York
Official website

AUM Fidelity is a New York City-based independent record label primarily devoted to avant-garde jazz artists such as William Parker, Matthew Shipp, and David S. Ware. It has also released recordings by improvisational rock band Shrimp Boat, and exclusively distributes the CaseQuarter[1] and Riti labels.[2] It was founded in 1997 by former Homestead Records label manager Steven Joerg.[3]

History / Overview[edit]

Founder Steven Joerg is a native of Chicago,[4] and has stated that in high school he was heavily influenced by the DIY aesthetic of punk rock, especially labels such as SST Records.[3] Moving to New York City immediately after graduating college,[4] Joerg initially worked for Bar/None Records. He became a manager of the indie rock label Homestead Records in 1992, where he signed and promoted albums by Babe the Blue Ox, Tara Key, Sleepyhead, Soul-Junk, and others. After releasing a well-received album by free jazz drummer William Hooker, Joerg convinced a reluctant Homestead to sign notable jazz musician David S. Ware and his Quartet. Their first release on the label, Cryptology, received a lead review in Rolling Stone.[3]

Joerg left Homestead in December 1996 and founded AUM Fidelity in Brooklyn in January 1997. His aim of the new label was to focus primarily on some of the modern era's masters of jazz.[5] He liquidated his life savings, sold half his record collection, and took out a loan to finance the endeavor. The label derived its name partially from the Charles Mingus album Mingus Ah Um, but is fundamentally from "AUM, the mantra of mantras, representing the soundless sound of the universe, the original tone and source of all creation. Not low fidelity or high fidelity, but AUM Fidelity."[6] The label officially launched in September 1997 with the release of David S. Ware's Wisdom of Uncertainty, and William Parker's Sunrise in the Tone World.[3][7]

The label continues to be based in Brooklyn, New York,[4] and as of 2014 has released over 80 albums which have been acclaimed around the world.[4] In addition to Ware and Parker, artists who have recorded for the label include Joe Morris, Whit Dickey, Other Dimensions In Music, Test, Matthew Shipp, Mat Maneri, Hamid Drake, Rob Brown, Daniel Carter, Roy Campbell, Cooper-Moore, Chad Taylor, Roy Nathanson, Kidd Jordan, Eri Yamamoto, Gerald Cleaver, Craig Taborn, Bill Dixon, Jim Hobbs, The Fully Celebrated, Darius Jones, Little Women, Mike Pride, and others.[8] AUM Fidelity began distributing Joe Morris' Riti label when it was born anew in 2002, and in 2003 co-launched the CaseQuarter[1] label, which is devoted to sacred and spiritual music of the American south.

AUM Fidelity has from its inception been active in supporting the New York City downtown jazz scene.[4][3] Joerg has volunteered at the Vision Festival since 1996, and produced Vision One, a two-disc benefit compilation of material recorded at the festival.[5] AUM Fidelity was asked by musician and artist John Zorn to curate his avant-garde locale The Stone for June 16-30, 2011, which featured performances by many of the label's artists, including its then most recent signing, alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones.[3] In January 2009, the label was instrumental in finding a kidney donor for David S. Ware.[4] Following his recovery and prior to his passing, Ware released five acclaimed new albums with the label, including a recording of his final concert appearance, Live at Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2011. Together with Ware's widow, Setsuko S. Ware, Joerg produced the Memorial Service for David S. Ware, which took place on January 7, 2013.[9][10]

The label celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in June 2011 with two weeks of curated performances at The Stone, and culminated with a series of concerts in June 2012 at Suoni Per Il Popolo (Montreal) and Vision Festival (New York City).[4][11] William Parker's 8CD Box Set, Wood Flute Songs, was released in late 2013, garnering a 5-star Down Beat review and chosen as the #1 Archive Release of the Year by The Wire.[12]


Centering Records (William Parker & AUM Fidelity cooperative productions)

CaseQuarter (co-launched & distributed by AUM Fidelity; dedicated to sacred music of the American South)

  • CASE101 - 2003: God's Got It: The Legendary Booker and Jackson Singles by Reverend Charlie Jackson
  • CASE102 - 2004: You Without Sin Cast The First Stone by Isaiah Owens
  • CASE103 - 2006: Singing Songs of Praise by The Spiritualaires of Hurtsboro, Alabama
  • CASE104 - 2009: I Got Two Wings: Incidents and Anecdotes of The Two-Winged Preacher and Electric Guitar Evangelist [Book+CD] by Elder Utah Smith (book by Lynn Abbott)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "CaseQuarter". AUM Fidelity. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  2. ^ "Riti Records". AUM Fidelity. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Cohen, Brad (June 15, 2011). "Smashing Jazzheads on the Punk Rock with AUM Fidelity". Village Voice. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Henrickson, Tad (June 15, 2011). "A Label With Swing to Spare - AUM Fidelity Marks (Almost) 15 Years With a Series of Performances at the Stone". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  5. ^ a b Medwin, Marc (June 7, 2006). "AUM Fidelity". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  6. ^ "An AAJ Interview with Steven Joerg of AUM Fidelity". All About Jazz. March 1, 2004. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  7. ^ "High Two". AUM Fidelity. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  8. ^ "Artists". AUM Fidelity. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  9. ^ Chinen, Nate (January 8, 2013). "Free Improvisation at a Memorial Helps Affirm a Saxophonist’s Legacy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  10. ^ "David S. Ware, Forever / Never to be Forgotten". AUM Fidelity. Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  11. ^ "AUM 15th Live Celebrations". AUM Fidelity. Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  12. ^ "WILLIAM PARKER - Wood Flute Songs: Anthology/Live 2006-2012". AUM Fidelity. Retrieved 2014-10-25. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]