In the mid 80s, Thirsty Ear partnered with English labels 4AD and Beggars Banquet and established their US operations out of Thirsty Ear's offices. The Beggars Banquet alliance proved fruitful and continued for ten years, firmly establishing them as one of the premier English independent labels in America. In 1990, Thirsty Ear made its emergence as a record label of its own, quickly accelerating its position and becoming one of the top alternative independent labels within the U.S. music industry.
A unique partnership with 2.13.61 Records, the label founded by punk legend Henry Rollins, led unexpectedly to Thirsty Ear's relationship with jazz iconoclast Matthew Shipp. Shipp would go on to become the Artistic Director of a new line of recordings named the Blue Series. The concept of the Blue Series was born from Thirsty Ear's desire to marry jazz's many languages into a cogent new one and perhaps shake up what was, and to a certain extent still is, a stagnant musical climate.
Since its beginning in 2000, the story of the Blue Series has been one of focused, organic evolution. From free jazz masters, legends in their own time, to some of the most innovative producers working in the world of modern hip-hop and electronic music, the Blue Series has come to encompass some of the most exciting developments in creative music since the turn of the new millennium. Featuring such present-day jazz legends as William Parker, Tim Berne, David S. Ware and Matthew Shipp, and augmented by DJ Spooky, U.K. electronica titans Spring Heel Jack, and hip-hop innovators El-P and Antipop Consortium (to name just a few,) the Blue Series acknowledges jazz's luminescent past without allowing it to smother its artists' desires to pave new ground.