Short Bio: AJ Kluth is a writer, saxophonist, and improviser and recently completed a PhD in Ethnomusicology (Systematic Musicology Specialization) at the University of California, Los Angeles. His doctoral dissertation, “A Study of the Los Angeles DIY Experimental Music Scene: Reflections on the Promise of the Possible,“ focuses on musical experimentalism in Los Angeles and questions of musical meaning. The study puts ethnographic methodologies in conversation with aesthetic theory to address questions about the affective power of challenging, non-commercial music. Further research interests include jazz studies, musicology, aesthetics, philosophy of mind, and cognitive psychology.
Longer Bio: AJ Kluth is a writer, saxophist, and improviser. He holds degrees from the University of Los Angeles (PhD in Ethnomusicology, Systematic Musicology Specialization, 2018), New York University (MA in Humanities and Social Thought, 2013) and DePaul University (MM in Jazz Saxophone Performance, 2006). Kluth’s dissertation, "A Study of the Los Angeles DIY Experimental Music Scene: Reflections on the Promise of the Possible," puts ethnographic methodologies in conversation with aesthetic theory to address questions about the affective power of challenging, non-commercial music. In addition to an ethnography of the scene, the study offers productive critiques of the efficacy of sociological methods and theories of post-postmodernity in studying contemporary experimentalism and demonstrates the relevance of the hermeneutical turn in music study to account for the power of aesthetic experience.
Kluth’s publications appear in the Journal of Jazz Studies, The International Journal of New Media, Technology, and the Arts, DownBeat Magazine, and Ethnomusicology Review's “Sounding Board,” in addition to his book of transcribed solos by jazz saxophonist Chris Potter. Research interests include musical experimentalism, jazz studies, musicology, aesthetics, theories of interpretation, philosophy of mind, and cognitive psychology.
Outside of his academic work, Kluth is an accomplished saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist invested in teaching as well as performance. He has worked as a teaching artist for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz’s “Jazz in the Classroom” outreach program as well as for the Music Institute of Chicago. As a performer, after his initial graduate studies in Chicago, Kluth worked in that scene with diverse artists such as the Chicago Afrobeat Project, Lauren Frost, the AJ Kluth Quintet, L’Orchestre Super Vitesse, Jerome Holloway, the University of Chicago’s Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, and leading his band ALDRIC. Moving to New York City in 2011 for graduate work at NYU, he worked with The Avalon Jazz Band, Caramelo, Ben Miller’s Sensorium Saxophone Orchestra, Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, and Hank Lane Productions. As an OA2 Records recording artist, Kluth has released records featuring the AJ Kluth Quintet and his band ALDRIC, while in 2018 his project SINK EATER released an EP entitled BINGE.
AJ is currently based in Erfurt, Germany.