Matthew Shipp (piano), Allen Lowe (alto sax), Gerald Cleaver (drums), Kevin Ray (bass)
Shipp/Lowe/Cleaver/Ray is a cooperative group that came together in 2017 as the various members realized they had an affinity for playing together. They perform completely free and spontaneously, with the various members sharing leadership.
With his unique and recognizable style, pianist Matthew Shipp worked and recorded vigorously from the late '80s onward, creating music in which free jazz and modern classical intertwined. He first became well known in the early '90s as the pianist in the David S. Ware Quartet, and soon began leading his own dates - - most often including Ware bandmate and leading bassist William Parker -- and recording a number of duets with a variety of musicians, from the legendary Roscoe Mitchell to violinist Mat Maneri, the latter another musician who began making a name for himself in the '90s. Through his range of live and recorded performances and unswerving individual development, Shipp has come to be regarded as a prolific and respected voice in creative music into the new millennium. Allen Lowe is a saxophonist, guitarist, mastering engineer and music historian. He has performed and recorded as a leader with David Murray, Doc Cheatham, Marc Ribot, Matthew Shipp, Don Byron, Julius Hemphill,, Nels Cline, Ken Peplowski, Nels Cline, JD Allen, Kalaparusha, Ursula Oppens, Roswell Rudd, James Brandon Lewis, Frank Lacy, and Jimmy Knepper. He has released at least 15 compact discs under his own name, and has five new works coming out in 2018. There are entries about him in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and The Penguin Guide to Jazz on Compact Disc. There is a chapter on him in the book Bebop and Nothingness, by Francis Davis (Schirmer Books: 1996). Born May 4, 1963 and raised in Detroit, Gerald Cleaver is a product of the city’s rich music tradition. Inspired by his father, drummer John Cleaver, he began playing the drums at an early age. He has performed or recorded with Franck Amsallem, Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Lotte Anker, Reggie Workman, Marilyn Crispell, Matt Shipp, William Parker, Craig Taborn, Kevin Mahogany, Charles Gayle, Mario Pavone, Ralph Alessi, Jacky Terrasson, Jimmy Scott, Muhal Richard Abrams, Dave Douglas, Tim Berne, Jeremy Pelt, Ellery Eskelin, David Torn and Miroslav Vitous, among others. Cleaver has released two recordings as a leader. His 2001 recording Adjust (Fresh Sound New Talent) was nominated in the Best Debut Recording category by the Jazz Journalists Association. His latest release, Gerald Cleaver’s Detroit (FSNT), is an homage to his hometown and to the late, great Detroit drummers Roy Brooks, Lawrence Williams, George Goldsmith and Richard “Pistol” Allen. Cleaver leads the bands Violet Hour, NiMbNl and Uncle June. As a young man casting about for direction, critically acclaimed bassist (“able to hear around corners...”, “... a wonder”) Kevin Ray drifted into the New School jazz program, where he became a protege of Reggie Workman’s, a deep relationship that abides to this day. Under Reggie’s tutelage he developed an affinity for adventurous artists such as The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Henry Threadgill, The World Saxophone Quartet, Andrew Cyrille, and others. Supporting himself in the early 90s with a straight gig managing a division at Forbes Publishing, Kevin continued to study and play. Toward the end of the decade, he came into contact with one of his spiritual mentors, Andrew Hill. “Andrew gave me the confidence to be truly serious about becoming a musician,” Ray explains. For ten years he played regularly with Hill and continued to expand his horizons by performing and recording with other outstanding artists such as John Hicks, Bobby Zankel, Oliver Lake, Greg Osby, John Stubblefield, Ray Anderson, Kelvyn Bell, Elliott Sharp, Hamiet Bluiett, Nels Cline, Ursula Oppens, Ken Peplowski, J.D. Allen, and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre. He has also performed in the premieres of major works by a wide range of composers, including Lee Hyla, Joe McPhee and Leroy Jenkins. In addition, since 2012, he has been a member, along with Frank Lacy and Andrew Drury, of the collective trio 10³³ K.