Jeremy Cunningham is a drummer, composer, and improviser. Originally from Cincinnati, he moved to Chicago in 2009, where he currently performs and composes as an integral part of the city’s vibrant music scene. He holds a Bachelors of Music from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he studied with professor John Von Ohlen, whose zen, loose approach toward drumming continues to inform Cunningham’s technique today. Coltrane (and, by extension, Elvin Jones) is another huge influence; Cunningham cites an early introduction to “Live at Birdland” as a formative musical experience.
Since moving to Chicago, Cunningham has performed with an impressive roster of luminaries such as Von Freeman, Chris Foreman, Jeff Parker, Mike Allemana, Marquis Hill, Caroline Davis, Nick Mazzarella, and Dave Miller. He can be heard on Marquis Hill's albums "New Gospel" and "Sounds of the City," as well as Caroline Davis's "Live, Work, Play." In addition to performing in clubs and festivals throughout Chicago, Cunningham also appears throughout the United States with various projects. He’s has toured internationally with IsWhat?!, the Moshier/Lebrun Collective, and Paul Giallorenzo's GitGo.
Most recently, Cunningham completed a Masters in Music from DePaul University, under the mentorship of Dana Hall, and has been working on Meridian Trio, a collaborative effort with Nick Mazzarella and Matt Ulery. He also released his first album as a bandleader, re: dawn (from far). The album, out on ears&eyes Records, was recorded with some of Cunningham’s closest colleagues and mentors: Jeff Parker, Josh Johnson, and Ulery.
"He's very sensitive, yet a wonderfully powerful drummer as needed. He tastefully drives, and provides a sound heartbeat for the section..." —Marquis Hill
“Jeremy is one of the most in-demand drummers in Chicago, and he put together a special band of unique voices and personalities for re: dawn (from far). His openness as a leader really brings out the singularity in each musician's voice for this project.” —Matt Ulery
“…thunderous energy… great precision and intensity.” —WX5U, Detroit
"Cunningham has proved himself a nimble and versatile figure in a variety of mainstream and cutting-edge jazz ensembles, the Chicago drummer perhaps best known for his collaborations with trumpeter Marquis Hill." --Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
"Jeremy Cunningham's debut as a leader, re: dawn (from far), shows an assured musician and composer who effortlessly taps into the great musical tradition of the city [Chicago]." --Jakob Baekgaard, All About Jazz
"Cunningham has a loose, fluid touch and feel with a strong command of dynamics that, despite it's "openness," is tightly pegged in the groove." --Jeff Potter, Downbeat
Photographer (background): Bruce Williams
Photographer (foreground): Jacob Hand