Northwoods Improvisers

Faruq Z. Bey w/ the Northwoods Improvisers music focuses around the composing and arranging of Faruq Z. Bey. The band consists of the
following members:


Faruq Z. Bey
(Tenor, alto, soprano saxophone, flute)

Faruq is the founder of the seminal creative Detroit based jazz ensemble "GRIOT GALAXY". Their cd OPUS CRAMPUS on the sound aspects label earned them international acclaim. Faruq is also a published poet and is currently a member of the Detroit based ensemble "SPEAKING IN TONGUES". He has worked with Northwoods on and off since the fall of 2000.

Faruq and Griot Galexy. Video of Griot Galaxy:

Mike Carey
(Tenor saxophone, flute, bass clarinet)

Performed with A.A.C.M. (Chicago) and Detroit based ensemble, "GREEN/MOSLEY COMPLEX" from 1982 to 1995. some of the members included, Donald Washington, Muwata Bowden and Harrison Bankhead. studied flute from 1980 to 1984 with Elmer Nodgie, flute virtuoso with the romanian symphony orchestra who fled the country for political reasons. has been a member (and is) of several detroit based ensembles including;


Skeeter C. R. Shelton
(Tenor and soprano saxophones, oboe, basoon)

Has played with the 70th DIVISION ARMY RESERVE BAND for 27 years. He is currently a member of SPEAKING IN TONGUES and is one of the founding members of GRIOT GALAXY. His father AJARAMU SHELTON was Gene Ammons drummer and an early Delmark recording artist with Kalaparusha.
Write up in Metro Times


Mike Gilmore
(Vibraphones, Marimba, Cheng, Guitar, Saz, Percussion)

Founding member of Northwoods Collective. Began playing guitar at age 5. Began studying Jazz Improvisation and East Indian Music in 1976. Shortly thereafter African, Middle Eastern and Far East Musics. Formal Piano studies 1976. Formal Classical Guitar studies 1979.


Mike Johnston
(Bass, wood flutes, percussion)

Founding member of the Northwoods collective. Contributing writer for coda publications 1982-1999. teaches college course at various colleges in jazz history and african and asian musics. MFA degree in Photography/Art from Central Michigan University. Does a public radio show "Destination Out" on CMU Public radio featuring creative jazz and world music.
Interview for French Creative Sound Radio


Nick Ashton
(Drums, percussion)

Nick Ashton (son of James Ashton, professional drummer) began formal instruction at age 11 and continued band and orchestra in public school and college. Played different genre of music through college and after until settling in NYC in 1978 for 6 1/2 yrs whereupon jazz and improvised music became the only musical focus. Returned to Indiana in 1985 and began playing on the Indianapolis scene in 1986. He began playing with "NORTHWOODS IMPROVISERS" in 1987 and has continued performing with them ever since.