Aram Shelton is an improviser and composer. He performs on saxophone, clarinets, and live electronics. Based in Oakland, California, the projects Tonal Masher, Broken Trap Ensemble, Gold Age, and Ton Trio II represent his music. He is connected to Chicago through his Quartet, the cooperative sextet Fast Citizens (Delmark), and Jason Adasiewicz’ Rolldown (Cuneiform). His writing and playing has been documented through more than two dozen albums since 2003 and is grounded in and influenced by the rich history of avant-jazz and free improvisation in America and Europe since the 1950s.
Shelton lived in Chicago from 1999 to 2005, where he played creative jazz and improvised music in many settings including Dragons 1976, with Jason Ajemian and Tim Daisy; Arrive, with Jason Adasiewicz, Jason Roebke, and Daisy; the Fast Citizens, with Keefe Jackson, Josh Berman, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Anton Hatwich and Frank Rosaly; and began to use Max/MSP for the live sampling and manipulation of acoustic instruments, primarily with Johnathan Crawford in the electro acoustic duo Grey Ghost.
In 2005, Shelton moved to Oakland to study electroacoustic music & recording techniques at Mills College in Oakland, California. At Mills, Shelton wrote music with a focus on the technique of phrase modification, wherein phrases played by acoustic instruments are recorded in real time and rearranged via custom built patches in MAX/MSP. 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 California, Shelton has developed music for his solo electroacoustic project Tonal Masher; the chamber improv group Broken Trap Ensemble; the creative free jazz Ton Trio II; the electroacoustic trio Stratic; the collaborative quartet Cylinder, with Darren Johnston, Lisa Mezzacappa, and Kjell Nordeson; his Shepp, Ayler & Sun Ra inspired sextet Marches; and the Oakland Active Orchestra.
In the past Shelton has been fortunate to perform with many exceptional musicians including Larry Ochs, Frank Rosaly, Safa Shokrai, Aaron Novik, Jordan Glenn, Cory Wright, Mark Clifford, Britt Ciampa, William Winant.Mark Dresser, Josh Berman, Henry Kaiser, Kyle Bruckmann, Josh Sinton, Jacob Felix-Heule, Bill Horvitz, Mary Halvorson, Weasel Walter, Gino Robair, Jacob Wick, Ken Vandermark, Audrey Chen, Henry Grimes, Tony Buck, Magda Mayas, James Fei, Matt Bauder, Jason Ajemian, Tomas Fujiwara, Marco Eneidi, Daniel Carter, Dave Rempis, Nate Wooley, Damon Smith, Jon Raskin, Rob Mazurek, Havard Wiik, Jeff Parker, Frank Gratkowski, Josh Abrams, Harris Eisenstadt, Jeb Bishop, Tim Perkis, Guillermo Gregorio, and Chris Brown. He has performed in Europe, Canada and the United States including appearances at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, the Suoni per il Popolo Festival in Montreal, 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. His playing and music are available through Delmark, Clean Feed, Cuneiform, 482 Music, and his own Singlespeed Music.