Gerald Cleaver (musician)

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Gerald Cleaver

Gerald Cleaver (born May 4, 1963[1]) is a jazz drummer from Detroit, Michigan.[2]

Early life[edit]

Cleaver's father is drummer John Cleaver Jr., originally from Springfield, Ohio, and his mother was from Greenwood, Mississippi.[1] Gerald had six older siblings.[1]


Cleaver joined the jazz faculty at the University of Michigan in 1995. He has performed or recorded with Joe Morris, Mat Maneri, Roscoe Mitchell, Miroslav Vitouš, Michael Formanek, Tomasz Stańko, Franck Amsallem and others.[1]

Under the name Veil of Names, Cleaver released an album called Adjust on the Fresh Sounds New Talent label in 2001. It featured Maneri, Ben Monder, Andrew Bishop, Craig Taborn and Reid Anderson and was a Best Debut Recording Nominee by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Cleaver currently leads the groups Uncle June, Black Host, Violet Hour and NiMbNl as well as working as a sideman with many different artists.


An asterisk (*) indicates that the year is that of release.

As leader/co-leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Notes
2000 Adjust Fresh Sound Sextet, with Andrew Bishop (clarinet, soprano sax, tenor sax), Mat Maneri (violin), Craig Taborn (piano), Ben Monder (guitar), Reid Anderson (electric bass, acoustic bass)
2008 Farmers by Nature AUM Fidelity As the band "Farmers by Nature". Trio, with Craig Taborn (piano), William Parker (bass)
2009 Be It as I See It Fresh Sound Also credited to "Uncle June"
2010 Out of This World's Distortions AUM Fidelity As the band "Farmers by Nature". Trio, with Craig Taborn (piano), William Parker (bass)
2011 Love and Ghosts AUM Fidelity As the band "Farmers by Nature". Trio, with Craig Taborn (piano), William Parker (bass); in concert
2013* Life in the Sugar Candle Mines Northern Spy As the band "Black Host". Quintet, with Darius Jones (alto sax), Brandon Seabrook (guitar), Cooper-Moore (piano), Pascal Niggenkemper (bass)
2018* The Industry of Entropy Relative Pitch Records Leaderless quartet, with Brandon Lopez (bass), Andria Nicodemou (vibraphone), Matt Nelson (tenor saxophone)

As sideman[edit]

With Lotte Anker

With Samuel Blaser

  • 7th Heaven (Between the Lines, 2008)
  • Boundless (Hatology, 2011) with Marc Ducret
  • As the Sea (Hatology, 2012) with Marc Ducret

With Rob Brown

With Greg Burk

  • Carpe Momentum (Soul Note, 2004)

With Benoit Delbecq

  • Spots on Stripes (Clean Feed, 2018)

With Yelena Eckemoff

With Liberty Ellman

With Michael Formanek

With Ya Ya Fornier

With Tomas Fujiwara

With Charles Gayle

With Daniel Guggenheim

With Giovanni Guidi

With Travis Laplante (as Subtle Degrees)

  • A Light that Empties (NNA Tapes, 2018)

With Chris Lightcap

  • Lay-up (Fresh Sound, 2000)
  • Bigmouth (Fresh Sound, 2003)

With Frank London

  • Hazonos (Tzadik, 2005)

With Mat Maneri

  • Blue Decco (Thirsty Ear, 2000)
  • Sustain (Thirsty Ear, 2002) with Joe McPhee

With Nicolas Masson

  • Yellow (A Little Orange) (Fresh Sound, 2006)

With Carl Michael

  • The Carl Michael Group (Play On Records, 1998)

With Roscoe Mitchell

With Jemeel Moondoc

With Joe Morris

With Fredrik Nordstrom

  • Gentle Fire, Restless Dreams (Moserobie Music Production, 2016)

With Eivind Opsvik

  • Overseas (Fresh Sound, 2002)

With William Parker

With Mario Pavone

With Jeremy Pelt

With Ivo Perelman

With Jason Rigby

  • The Sage (Fresh Sound, 2008)
  • ONE (Fresh Sound, 2016)

With Stephen Rush

With Samo Salamon

  • Government Cheese (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2007)
  • Stretching Out (Samo Records, 2013)

With Matthew Shipp

With Wadada Leo Smith

With Tomasz Stanko

With Craig Taborn

With Miroslav Vitous

With Ben Waltzer

  • In Metropolitan Motion (Fresh Sound, 2000)

With Rodney Whitaker

With Pamela Wise


  1. ^ a b c d Adler, David R. (December 13, 2013) "Home & Away with Gerald Cleaver". JazzTimes.
  2. ^ Layne, Joslyn. "Biography: Gerald Cleaver". AMG. Retrieved 13 May 2010.