Silkheart Records presents exciting
new American jazz on compact disc
in excellent sound.

During the late fifties and early sixties public reaction was hostile towards challenging improvisers such as Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. There was a good deal of antipathy during the 1960s towards the efforts of artists represented on the avant-garde ESP label. In hindsight it’s clear that this kind of initial hostility was quite misguided. A decade after the onset of these extreme views, both Cecil Taylor and John Coltrane had gained widespread popular acceptance, and so too had Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. The ESP artists did not achieve quite the same measure of success, but ten years later they had by and large become quite well thought of. With the arrival of the 1980s, new jazz had become short of new blood and, aside from hardy circles of old-timers, desperately lacking in genuine excitement. It was during this period that Lars-Olof Gustavsson and Keith Knox were introduced to each other by the late Charles Tyler, and discussed the burning question of what is of importance in music. They proceeded to formulate their policy for what became Silkheart Records.

An initial vector of this policy put the spotlight on certain important but little known musicians who were active in the 1960s and sparsely recorded, such as Charles Brackeen, Ahmed Abdullah and Hal Russell.
A second vector of Silkheart policy was concern that titans of the contemporary music scene such as Charles Gayle, Matthew Shipp, Booker T, et al had not been recorded at all, and a wish to remedy this.
A third vector of Silkheart policy recognized the existence and vitality of groups like Other Dimensions in Music, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble and New Horizons Ensemble, all of which were atrociously under represented on disc and little known.

Our musical policy puts Silkheart Records out on a limb. Silkheart is dedicated to recording the sublime heights of creativity in improvised music. Our continuing policy is to maintain a focus on evolving changes in vernacular improvised music, on the look-out for musicians with that ultimate sparkle. Because the touchstone of jazz music has always been diversity, our ears are attuned to trends, styles and creative influences as they arise. Listen with Silkheart as new strategies and creative alternatives unfold, seeding the music and helping it develop fruitfully.

In pride of place at the center of Silkheart's activities are the record buying public, together with the musicians who played on the sessions.
It is our policy to strive for the truest possible representation of the good feelings germane to a total experience of music. We try to communicate the ambience of expectancy and the fine humor of creative intensity in the club or studio where the session took place. To do justice to this creative musical atmosphere, Silkheart Records seek out the best possible professional services for state-of-the-art compact disc productions.
We locate the proper studio for a project and employ a top-flight, sympathetic engineer to capture every nuance of the music, and we take care with the post production and manufacturing. The artists are invited to have their say in editing the sound, writing biographies and, occasionally, proposing a front cover. This interaction we regard as important.

Both Lars-Olof Gustavsson and Keith Knox are unconventional in approach and neither of them draws a salary from the company. Silkheart holds to
a philosophy that change is a lifestyle and that effort and experiment are
a necessary part of a life in music. Creative jazz music faces worse conditions today than ever before and a hardening market for improvised music tends to make the musicians nervous of change. Flying in the face of circumstances like these, Silkheart Records has been deliberately providing a channel for exposing highly creative expression in new jazz.

Silkheart commenced operations in 1985 and has released numerous legendary recordings. These documented comebacks for David S. Ware and Alvin Fielder, and debuts by Charles Gayle, Matthew Shipp, Rob Brown, Booker T. Williams, Daniel Carter, Jim Hobbs and Dennis Charles, as well as significant releases by Steve Lacy, the Ernest Dawkins New Horizons Ensemble, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Roy Campbell, Charles Tyler, Michael Bisio, Other Dimensions in Music, Assif Tsahar, Roscoe Mitchell, Billy Bang, Dennis Gonzalez, ‘Kidd’ Jordan, Guerino Mazzola and various Joel Futterman constellations.

home | catalog | finding silkheart | links | about us