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Paul Austerlitz

Reed player, composer, and ethnomusicologist Paul Austerlitz combines his background as an ethnomusicologist specializing in Afro-Caribbean music with his creative work as a jazz musician. As an instrumentalist, Austerlitz has dedicated himself to mastering the bass and contrabass clarinets. He also plays Bb (soprano) clarinet and tenor saxophone. As a composer, Austerlitz weds his backgrounds in jazz and ethnomusicology, producing works that incorporate the musics that he researches. He has been especially active in blending Latin and Caribbean music from the Dominican Republic and elsewhere with free forms of jazz.

Austerlitz has worked with musicians such as Doc Cheatham, Julius Hemphill, Dave Murray, Don Byron, Roswell Rudd, Jimmy Knepper, Ed Blackwell, Gunter Hampel, the poet Michael Harper, the Haitian Vodun-jazz group Fula, and the African jazz group of Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng. Austerlitz's CD A Bass Clarinet in Santo Domingo and Detroit (X-DOT 25) presents original compositions and arrangements blending Afro-Caribbean and freely improvised idioms with sundry influences such as Indian classical music and the didgeridoo. Recorded with Caribbean and North American musicians in the Dominican Republic and Detroit, it features the brilliant Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Austerlitz's CD Dominican Dreams, American Dreams (Engine Studios) features a fusion of traditional Afro-Dominican rhythms (such as merengue and pri-pr


Selmer bass clarinet Bay bass clarinet mouthpiece Boss multi-effects box


“Journey is a successful sonic cornucopia.” - George Harris, AllAboutJazz-Los Angeles

“An accomplished bass clarinetist, free-blowing improviser, and ethomusicologist, Austerlitz explores connections between Africa, merengue, and bebop.” -Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times

Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor

Willing to teach

Advanced only


Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Africana Studies, Sunderman Conservatory of Music, Gettysburg College 2006-present Assistant Professor of Music and Africana Studies, Brown University 1997-2005

Clinic/Workshop Information

World music and jazz New techniques on bass clarinet



The Vodou Horn

Round Whirled Records



Innova Recordings



Innova Recordings



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