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. Since moving to Chicago, Cunningham has performed with an impressive roster of luminaries such as Von Freeman, Jeff Parker, Mike Allemana, Marquis Hill, Caroline Davis, Nick Mazzarella, Greg Ward, and Dave Rempis. He can be heard on Marquis Hill's albums "New Gospel" and "Sounds of the City," Caroline Davis’s “Live, Work, Play,” as well as Nick Mazzarella’s Meridian Trio recording “Triangulum.” Current projects include his own quartet with Jeff Parker, Josh Johnson, and Paul Bryan; Nick Mazzarella’s Meridian Trio, Laurenzi/Cunningham Duo, Rempis/Cunningham Duo, the Matt Gold Trio, and Resavoir.
In 2016, Cunningham earned a Masters in Music from DePaul University, where he studied with Dana Hall, and 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 Matt Ulery. New City Music described that album as “the kind of bravura storytelling and image-painting only the tightest, most simpatico ensembles can pull off.” The band has been gaining notoriety for their highly evocative performances that are rooted in the rich language of Chicago improvised music.
Recently, Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs awarded Cunningham an artist grant for his forthcoming album “The Weather Up There,” which addresses the tragedy of losing his younger brother Andrew in a home invasion robbery in 2008. Working closely with Jeff Parker and Paul Bryan, this new work confronts gun violence and examines the acute ripple effect on several people's lives through the lens of memory, response, and collage. Cunningham includes regular collaborators Ben LeMar Gay, Jaimie Branch, Dustin Laurenzi, and Matt Ulery, in addition to a drum choir comprised of mentors and colleagues Mike Reed, Makaya McCraven, and Mikel Patrick Avery. The album creates narrative through interviews from family members, and close friends, as well as the recitation of Cunningham’s recent poem surrounding the experience of loss and the effect of gun violence. These musical compositions come to life live through an immersive experience which features many of the same artists along with an accompanying visual tapestry comprised of original content shot on location in Cincinnati and performed live by experimental video artist Kim Alpert. Cunningham has also paired with EveryTown For Gun Safety, a non-profit that shares his passion for enacting common sense gun laws.
"He's very sensitive, yet a wonderfully powerful drummer. He tastefully drives, and provides a sound heartbeat..." —Marquis Hill
“bristles with infectious grooves...” -Neil Tesser, JAZZIZ
“Jeremy is one of the most in-demand drummers in Chicago. His openness as a leader really brings out the singularity in each musician's voice.” —Matt Ulery
"Cunningham has proved himself a nimble and versatile figure in a variety of mainstream and cutting-edge jazz ensembles.” Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
"re: dawn (from far) is a strong debut from Cunningham and one can only hope that he will be able to keep this group together. They have something special going on. They play a type of modern jazz that is both emotional and intellectual, traditional and modern. In the hands of these musicians, the future of jazz is safe and sound.”-Jakob Baekgaard, All About Jazz