Drummer Gerald Cleaver was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and is a product of the rich music tradition found there and also in his home. Inspired by his father, John Cleaver, also a drummer, he began playing the drums at an early age. He also played violin in elementary school and switched to trumpet during junior high and high school. While in his teens, he gained early working experience with Ali Muhammad Jackson, Lamont Hamilton, Earl Van Riper, and Pancho Hagood and later with Marcus Belgrave, Donald Walden, Rodney Whitaker, A. Spencer Barefield and Wendell Harrison. Cleaver earned a B.A. in music education from the University of Michigan. During his studies he was awarded an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Fellowship to study with drummer Victor Lewis. After graduating he began teaching in Detroit, and later joined the jazz faculty at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. He relocated to New York in 2002.
Cleaver has worked with Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Jacky Terrasson, Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Mario Pavone, Charles Gayle, Matthew Shipp, Reggie Workman, Joe Morris, Craig Taborn, Ralph Alessi, Eddie Harris, and Miroslav Vitous, among others. In 2002 Adjust, recorded for the Spanish label Fresh Sound New Talent, was nominated in the Best Debut Recording category.
April 19, 2015
StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Gerald Cleaver & Black Host
June 22, 2011
Gerald Cleaver: Drummer by Nature
January 24, 2011
Gerald Cleaver - Be It as I See It (2011)
January 18, 2011
The Jazz Session #232: Gerald Cleaver
November 22, 2010
Songs Set in a Bed of Improvisation
March 21, 2010
Devin Gray + Gerald Cleaver Duet at KORZO (Brooklyn) on April 13th
January 25, 2008
Gerald Cleaver's Violet Hour (Fri-Sat) Nathan Eklund Group (Sun) & More...
January 21, 2008
Michael Lydon (Tue) Soul of the Blues (Wed) Gnu Vox: Maria Neckam &...
November 08, 2006
Firehouse 12 To Present Gerald Cleaver & Violet Hour December 15th
August 12, 2005
Gerald Cleaver & Violet Hour + Brazilian Fest This Weekend at Cornelia...
January 24, 2005
Gerald Cleaver Upcoming Gigs
April 07, 2004
Gerald Cleaver, Charles Gayle, Craig Taborn, Thomas Bramerie at Barbes,...
January 05, 2004
Gerald Cleaver Quartet, Jan. 16th at The Jazz Spot