Bernard Stollman (1929-2015)

Bernard Stollman, founder of the label ESP Disk’ has passed away at 85 years old.

Established in 1964, ESP was one of the very few labels that allowed their artists complete control over their releases which made it a hotbed of underground music activity from across the spectrum. Discs by Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and other avant-garde jazz musicians would sit alongside works by the Fugs, Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, on ESP Disk’s shelves creating a unique catalogue.

Stollman, initially a lawyer who worked as an intern for the estates of Billie Holiday and Charlie Parer, formed the label with a record he made himself as an attempt to promote the short lived Esperanto language.

After 10 years releasing music, Stollman shut ESP Disk down in 1974, heading back to work as a lawyer. Stollman reactivated the label in 2005.