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Hat Hut Records relaunches with „ezz-thetics“ series

Venerable Swiss improvisation and new music label lines up new releases by Albert Ayler and Jimmy Giuffre

Improvisation and new music institution Hat Hut has relaunched with a new album series, alongside new independent distribution arrangements. The new series is entitled „ezz-thetics“, after George Russell's 1961 album, and its first releases are recordings by Jimmy Giuffre 3, Alex Hendriksen and Fabian Gisler, and a trio of Hildegard Kleeb, Roland Dahinden and Alexandre Babel. It follows a restart which, as longtime label boss Werner X Uehlinger puts it, “was only possible due to support from friends”. Hat Hut, which has longed maintained sublabels such as hat[now]ART and hatOLOGY covering distinct musical zones, remains an independent operation, and is lining up a typically prolific and eclectic slate of new releases.

The Jimmy Giuffre set, a Graz date from 1961, had previously been heard on 1970s and 80s bootleg LPs, but this new release presents a previously undiscovered radio version originally broadcast by ORF Vienna. “The release is for me very important as I have released many years ago from the same tour the concerts of Bremen and Stuttgart,” adds Uehlinger.

The original Ezz-thetics by George Russell is a desert island disc for Uehlinger, and he describes its creator as a “bridge builder of the past to the future”. The new series likewise aims to unite music of different eras, with a focus on contemporary Swiss musicians alongside familiar names that have long been associated with Hat Hut. One of the later is Albert Ayler, whose 1964 quartet recordings Ghosts and Spirits, originally released on Debut, are set to be released by the Hat Hut organisation on a single remastered CD after an agreement with the late saxophonist's estate.

Details of availability and distribution for Hat Hut's new venture can be found here. Hat Hut was originally launched in 1975 to release the music of Joe McPhee, but for the last four decades has ranged widely over new music, improvisation and various other musical avant gardes under the guidance of Uehlinger.