Jelly Cleaver uses music to create community and change. She aspires to the ideal of the artist as activist. Her work is often a meditation on the philosophical, the spiritual and the political.
Her values can be seen in how and where she makes music. As a Resident Artist at St George’s hospital in Tooting, she uses music and composing to help bring joy and relief to patients and staff. Her Jelly’s Jams improvised nights encourage an open and multi-disciplinary community for co-creation. She often plays at fundraisers and protests, including to thousands of fellow protestors at the 2022 Climate Justice demo in Trafalgar Square. On stage she sometimes encourages the audience to dream of new worlds free from oppression.
Her style moves freely across several genres, from cinematic and spiritual jazz to raw and rebellious post-punk. She goes from producing hip-hop beats to composing contemporary music for piano and projector to playing Jimi Hendrix inspired guitar solos and leading an all-female disco band. She’ll pop up at underground poetry events or behind the DJ decks at club nights. Her unwavering stance to being uncategorised has seen her receive the Steve Reid Award for "outstanding emerging talent", be nominated for an Ivor's Composer Award for Large Jazz Ensemble and be interviewed by the likes of NPR, BBC 6 Music and Bandcamp. She's performed her music in three continents and drawn international recognition, including from KEXP’s Gabriel Teodros who made her KEXP’s track of the day several times, and Clash Music who called her “exceptional”.
Gabriel Teodros, KEXP
"Jelly Cleaver’s otherworldly take on jazz by utilizing her DIY/punk scene influences and integrating political activism within her work makes the century and half year-old genre something entirely new… Cleaver is on a clear path towards greatness"