Spectrum 3 is lead by Detroit saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Skeeter C.R. Shelton. One of many iterations of Spectrum (the universal name of all Shelton’s projects as leader), Spectrum 3 is a trio with long-time collaborator and fellow Detroit-based creative musician Joel Peterson on double bass and new contributor James Baljo on percussion.
Spectrum 2 is a unique take on the vanguard jazz of the last century—updated for today, but distinct from the overly cerebral vibe that has come to dominate so much contemporary creative music. Spectrum 2 opts instead to emphasize “the cry” of jazz, along with elements of Detroit-style soul jazz and extended techniques of the avant garde.
The roots of this trio go back several years and through many ensembles; both Shelton and Peterson were mentored by saxophonist Faruq Z. Bey of the legendary group Griot Galaxy, at points separated by three decades. Besides performing together with Bey and other members of Detroit’s creative music scene, Shelton and Peterson have two ensembles with Bay-area pianist Thollem McDonas: Soar Trio and the large band BoxDeserter—both of which have recordings on Edge Tone Records.
The son of drummer and AACM charter-member Ajaramu (formerly Joe Shelton), Skeeter Shelton grew up around many of his father’s bandmates: Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Fred Anderson and, Ajaramu’s long- time love interest, Amina Claudine Meyers. As he got older, Shelton studied with jazz’s first serious harpist, Dorothy Ashby, and later with legendary organist Lyman Woodard. He’s been a member of Hakim Jami’s Street Band, The Vizitors, The Northwoods Improvisers, Kindred/The Faruq Z. Bey Quartet, The US Army Band and Joe Tex’s group. He has performed with Fred Anderson, Hamid Drake, Han Bennink, and especially fellow wind player Michael Carey; he has also recorded with James Blood Ulmer, Hakim Jami, and Dushun Mosley.
James Baljo is best-known as the guitarist for noise-darlings Wolf Eyes, but he also performs lovely, solo finger-picking and tape machine sets as The 696 Blues Band and plays drums and percussion in improvising hybrid-band Chatoyant. He his extensive touring has crossed the US, Europe and parts of the Middle East and he has collaborated with countless artists in the avant-garde, noise, improvised music and sound art.