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)
2007 Gerald Cleaver's Detroit Fresh Sound with Ben Waltzer (piano), Andrew Bishop (soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone), J. D. Allen (tenor saxophone), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Chris Lightcap (bass)
2008 Farmers by Nature AUM Fidelity As the band "Farmers by Nature," 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," with Craig Taborn (piano), William Parker (bass)
2010 Tivoli Trio Red Piano Records As the band "Tivoli Trio," with Frank Calberg (piano), John Hebert (bass)
2011 Love and Ghosts AUM Fidelity As the band "Farmers by Nature," with Craig Taborn (piano), William Parker (bass); in concert
2013* Life in the Sugar Candle Mines Northern Spy As the band "Black Host," with Darius Jones (alto sax), Brandon Seabrook (guitar), Cooper-Moore (piano), Pascal Niggenkemper (bass)
2016* Our Earth / Our World pfMENTUM Leaderless quartet, with Peter Kuhn and Dave Sewelson (reeds) and Larry Roland (bass)
2016* An Air of Unreality Rogueart As the band "Judson Trio," with Joëlle Léandre (bass) and Mat Maneri (viola)
2016* Ida Lupino ECM Leaderless quartet, with Giovanni Guidi (piano), Gianluca Petrella (trombone), and Louis Sclavis (clarinet)
2018* The Industry of Entropy Relative Pitch Records Leaderless quartet, with Brandon Lopez (bass), Andria Nicodemou (vibraphone), Matt Nelson (tenor saxophone)
2018* Songs of the Wild Cave Rogueart duo with Larry Ochs (tenor and sopranino saxophones)
2019* What Is to Be Done Clean Feed Records Leaderless trio, with Nels Cline (guitar), Larry Ochs (tenor and sopranino saxophones)

As sideman[edit]

With David Ades

  • A Life in the Day (Lionsharerecords, 2015)

With Rodrigo Amado

  • Searching for Adam (Not Two Records, 2010)

With Jacob Anderskov

With Lotte Anker

With Andrew Bishop

  • Time & Imaginary Time (Envoi Recordings, 2006)

With Samuel Blaser

  • 7th Heaven (Between the Lines, 2008)
  • Boundless (Hatology, 2011) with Marc Ducret
  • As the Sea (Hatology, 2012) with Marc Ducret
  • Spring Rain (Whirlwind, 2015)

With Rob Brown

With Greg Burk

  • Carpe Momentum (Soul Note, 2004)

With Taylor Ho Bynum and John Hebert

  • Book Of Three (Rogueart, 2010)
  • Book Of Three – Continuum (Relative Pitch, 2013)

With Benoit Delbecq

  • Spots on Stripes (Clean Feed, 2018)

With Yelena Eckemoff

With Liberty Ellman

With Ellery Eskelin

  • Trio Willisau Live (hatOLOGY 2016)
  • Trio New York II (prime source 2013)
  • Trio New York (prime source 2011)

With Michael Formanek

With Ya Ya Fornier

With Tomas Fujiwara

With Charles Gayle

With Daniel Guggenheim

With Giovanni Guidi

With John Hebert

  • Spiritual Lover (Clean Feed, 2010)
  • Floodstage (Clean Feed, 2014)

With Raphael Imbert

  • N__Y Project (Zig Zag Territoires, 2009)

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)
  • Epicenter (Fresh Sound, 2015)

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 Pascal Niggenkemper

  • Upcoming Hurricane (NoBusiness Records, 2011)

With Anders Nilsson and Raoul Björkenheim

  • Kalabalik (DMG/ARC, 2012)

With Fredrik Nordstrom

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

With Eivind Opsvik

  • Overseas (Fresh Sound, 2002)

With Aruán Ortiz

  • Hidden Voices (Intakt, 2016)

With William Parker

With Mario Pavone

With Jeremy Pelt

With Ivo Perelman

With Eric Revis

  • Crowded Solitudes (Clean Feed, 2016)

With Jason Rigby

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

With Adam Rogers and Dave Binney

  • R&B (Criss Cross, 2015)

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 Steve Swell

  • Soul Travelers (Roguert, 2016)

With Craig Taborn

With Gebhard Ullmann

  • Hat and Shoes (Between the Lines, 2015)

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.