United Sound Systems

United Sound Systems (USS), which reopened for business in 2014, is the nation’s oldest, still operating, independent recording studio.

The studio was the site of numerous well-known recordings, including those by the most popular artists of many genres. Jazz greats like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, blues legends like John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, soul singers such as Aretha Franklin and Isaac Hayes, funk groups like Parliament and Funkadelic, and rock bands like Death and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, not to mention various country musicians, all recorded at USS. Marv Johnson’s “Come To Me” was recorded there and released in 1959. It was the first single on the Tamla record label, the precursor of Berry Gordy’s Motown.



We Have First Office, Vault, MuseumSpace!
Pitchfork Radio
United Sound Fundraiser
Live in the D
Blue Bird Update
Michigan Historical Review article
Metabolic Studio $10,000 Grant




Dear Supporters,

We have moved our entire archive, including the remnants of the Graystone International Jazz Museum, into United Sound Systems Recording Studios (USSRS) where we now have an officeand exhibit space—our first true home. Since moving in we have raised thousands of dollars towards a Michigan Historic Marker, gone through our first archival survey of our collections, and taken dozens of meetings in the midst ofstrategic planning for 2016 and beyond. This holiday season we have so much to be thankful for.


In October, we did three, one-hour radio shows for Pitchfork Radio at Shinola'ssister store Willys featuring interviews with Gabriel Brass Band's ShavonJohnsonMother CyborgONE Mile,United Sound SystemsKaren Hudson-Samuels from WGPR TV Historical Society, and Tino Grossfrom Howling Diablos. We had a blast. You can hear the results here.


In October, we held a fundraiser to set aside funds for a Michigan Historic Marker for USSRS which we plan to apply for early in 2016. We had a great night and raised over $3000 towards our $5000 goal. If you missed the night you can still support the marker by purchasing a USSRS t shirt or just making a donation here.


To top off our first month at USSRS we were on local TV show Live in the D.You can see the video here.


Recently we had an update from theWayne State University archaeology department about their work with us this spring at the legendary Detroit jazz club the Blue Bird Inn. You can read more about their work here.


We are also proud to announce that volunteers and Detroit Sound Conference presenters Richard Marciland Veronica Grandison have published "The Graystone International Jazz Museum: A Brief History" based in part on our activism with the Graystone legacy in the Michigan Historical Review.


Finally, we are able to announce that theMetabolic Studio gave us a grant of $10,000 for general operating support. This is the largest donation we have yet received and a huge vote of confidence in our work thus far. You can read morehere.


Like what you are seeing and hearing?

In continuing sonic solidarity,

The DSC Board:

Carleton S. Gholz, President
Michelle McKinney, Vice President
LaVell Williams, Vice President
Angie Linder, Secretary
Donna Gardner, Treasurer