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