Aram Shelton is an improviser and composer who performs on saxophone, clarinets, and live electronics. He focuses on creative music grounded in and influenced by the rich history of avant-jazz and free improvisation; his writing and playing has been documented through more than two dozen albums to date. He's been an integral member of the creative music communities in the Bay Area and Chicago, and has recently relocated to Copenhagen.
Shelton creates music with an aesthetic that is guided by the musicians he works with. In Oakland (2005-2016), Shelton developed music for his solo electroacoustic project Tonal Masher; the avant jazz quartet Gold Age, the chamber improv group Broken Trap Ensemble; the creative free jazz Ton Trio II; the electroacoustic Stratic; the collaborative quartet Cylinder; his sextet Marches; and the Oakland Active Orchestra. In Chicago (1999 - 2005) he created music with his Quartet, the cooperative sextet Fast Citizens, Jason Adasiewicz’ Rolldown, Dragons 1976; Arrive; the electroacoustic duo Grey Ghost, and others.
Shelton studied electroacoustic music & recording techniques at Mills College in Oakland, California. He continues to improvise and compose electroacoustic music focused on the concepts illustrated in his graduate thesis Sound Extended: Replication of Acoustic Material and Phrase Modification.
In the past Shelton has been fortunate to perform with many exceptional musicians from the Bay Area, Chicago and New York scenes including Larry Ochs, Kjell Nordeson, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Frank Rosaly, Jordan Glenn, Cory Wright, Kristina Dutton, Tim Daisy, Mark Clifford, Safa Shokrai, Britt Ciampa, Theresa Wong, Jason Adasiewicz, Josh Berman, Keefe Jackson, Matt Bauder, Alex Vittum, Michael Coleman, Lisa Mezzacappa, Darren Johnston, Henry Kaiser, Kyle Bruckmann, Jon Raskin, Steve Adams, Bruce Ackley, Jacob Felix-Heule, Jacob Wick, William Winant, Mark Dresser, Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson, Josh Sinton, Jason Ajemian, Ken Vandermark, Audrey Chen, Tony Buck, Magda Mayas, James Fei, Damon Smith, Tim Perkis, Guillermo Gregorio, and Chris Brown. He has performed in Europe, Canada and the United States including appearances at the Switchboard Music Festival, Soundwave, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, the Suoni per il Popolo Festival, and the Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival. He has led workshops at the Evergreen State College, the Luzern Jazz School, through NEXMAP and at UC Santa Cruz. As a curator he founded the Active Music Series and Active Music Festival. His playing and music are available through Delmark, Clean Feed, Cuneiform, 482 Music, and his own Singlespeed Music.