Jen Gilleran was born and raised in New York and has lived in Boston, Colorado, Costa Rica and now Seattle.
She studied voice, tympani and violin and spent summers in music camp at Sarah Lawrence College with her step-father's string quartet-in-residence. She moved to the lower east side at 18 and emmersed herself in the downtown avant-garde scene during one of the most thriving periods in NYC history. At the original Knitting Factory on Houston Street, she watched the giants perform: Anthony Coleman, Marc Ribot, Joey Baron, Bill Frisell, Robert Quine, William Parker, Cyro Baptista, etc.. She studied conga and was fortunate enough to be introduced to the jazz world of kit drummer Frank Marino and the Latin-jazz-bata world of Frankie Malabe. Her excitement was contagious, she was told and so she benefited from the kindness of friends and strangers. The Village Gate on mondays 'Salsa-Meets-Jazz'. The Village Vanguard seeing Tony Williams, Paul Motian and Joe Lovano; Mongo Santamaria at the Blue Note; Ray Barretto at Mondo Cane. Jen went on to study tabla with Misha Masud and Pandit Samir Chatterjee and witnessed live sessions of North Indian classical music at Master Sound studios in Queens and house concerts in tiny loft spaces. This time changed her life - all set against the relentless pulse of NYC.
13 years later, she moved to Colorado for the summer that lasted for 9 years. She played percussion for several songwriters, including Clay Rose, Jackson Galaxy, Max Davies, Janet Feder, Eve Halpern, Angie Stevens and in her own project, Recess, with James Han and Jack Leahy. She eventually met Gregory Alan Isakov and it took every drop of what she had learned to get inside his music. With no traditional bass, Jen could experience a unique freedom and her setup took many forms, from large old resonant Ludwigs to cajon and hand percussion in an exploration of texture and melody that drew on all of the subtle and epic music she had experienced.
Colorado was a time of wide open sky, pickup trucks and deep friendships. Performing, touring and recording after several years, although exciting and beautiful, eventually left her tired, broke and dependent on someone else's path. Almost a decade later, she made the challenging choice to walk away from a successful band and from the validation of applause to deepen her musical experience. She moved to Costa Rica, where she lived for 6 months in a tiny town inside a massive cloud forest and found a musical comrade in the form of guitarist Robert Dean, of Japan fame who understood better than anyone the need to get back to yourself. When it was time to return to the States, Seattle was the choice and with her wife she moved to a less rainy place than she had just been and a much more contemplative city than she had ever experienced.
It was a natural transition to direct her own projects and expand her awareness of recording to the other side of the glass. She received a certificate from the University of Washington in audio engineering and is certified by Avid for ProTools. She interned with producer Martin Feveryear and assisted in the setup of his beautiful home studio. Through Martin, she met Earwig Studio owner Don Farwell who generously shared his vast experience of engineering and producing and asked her to assist at Earwig. Almost two years later, with Don as her mentor, Jen has earned the gift of opportunity to work with her own clients. Often hired as a drum tuner and session player as well as arranger, producer, coach and mixer she can now deeply experience the convergence of her many lives and would love to offer it up to your music.