Monday, August 18, 2008


I just finished listening to your sophomore album Gerald Cleaver’s Detroit for the tenth time. I love the band’s work ethic and your leadership style. I especially like saxophonists Andrew Bishop and J.D. Allen. Bishop has been your running buddy for years, but where have you been hiding this Allen fellow. Man, he almost stole the show. He could’ve been easily mistaken as the session’s leader. I bet that would’ve upset you one bit. You never made a fuss about sharing the spotlight. Gerald I suspect you learned that from your dad John Cleaver. He's a no frills elegant drummer.

You’re not a showoff either. On the many albums you’ve graced, you seemed to have understood implicitly one of the drummer responsibilities is to do the band's dirty work. You’ve never through temper tantrums because you weren’t getting enough attention.

Backing vocalist Rene’ Marie and saxophonist Lotte Anker you were a gentleman. You never over powered them. You remind me of one of Blue Note Record’s great session drummer Joe Chambers. Gerald Cleaver’s Detroit is a love letter addressed to Detroit, your hometown. The guys you assembled share your blue collar work ethic. You gave each a chance to shine.

Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and saxophonist J. D. Allen spoke their peace on Pilgrim’s Progress. Pianist Ben Waltzer and Andrew Bishop played tug-of-war on Grateful. And throughout bassist Chris Lightcap worked harder than a sharecropper. On Detroit (Keep It in Mind) the band engaged in a listenable collective improvisation. You all weren’t just in the studio making a lot of noise

Gerald I have to be straight with you, I liked this album more than your first, Adjust. I didn’t get what you tried to convey. It was too far out for my taste, but Gerald Cleaver’s Detroit I immediately fell head over heels for.
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