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.
As a teenager, Cunningham grew serious about performing music during his time with a jam band called “Ray’s Music Exchange.” There, he learned the intricacies of playing with a large group, and dove headlong into the jazz of the late 60s and early 70s. 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 carved out a reputation for a sensitivity to the music, a distinctive touch on the cymbals, and an ability to create textures as a counterpoint to the soloist. He 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 is finishing up his Masters in Jazz Performance at DePaul University and working on Meridian Trio, a collaborative effort with Nick Mazzarella and Matt Ulery. He is also releasing 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. It will be released on June 17.
“…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
Willing to teach
Beginner to advanced
MM Jazz Performance DePaul University
BM Jazz Performance University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music