Artist Gallery Photo

Jon Cleary

Tue, Sep 3 -
Wed, Sep 4, 2013

Doors open at 6:00 PM each night.
First sets begin at 7:30 PM, and second sets (when applicable) begin at 9:30 PM (doors: 9:15 PM).
$18.50 Free parking

The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley welcomes Jon Cleary for two nights joined by Cornell Williams (electric bass) and Jeffery "Jellybean" Alexander (drums). Set time Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm, doors at 5:30pm.

artist info

"Having fun with the songs of Allen Toussaint" is how Jon Cleary describes his new record, Occapella, a celebration of great songs put through Cleary's unique set of funky filters. Featuring Mac Rebbenack (Dr. John), Bonnie Raitt and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, there are unexpected twists and turns on this journey through the Toussaint songbook that will keep surprising you till the last piano glissando fades away.

A respected session and sideman, British blues pianist and composer Jon Cleary has worked with rock, blues, and soul artists like Bonnie Raitt, D’Angelo, Maria Muldaur, Taj Mahal, and Eric Clapton.

Originally a guitarist, Cleary began playing at age five, and started his first band at 15. Raised on blues, jazz, and soul records, his love of New Orleans blues and jazz in particular took him across the ocean after he graduated from art school. Returning to London culminated in forming a six-piece traditional New Orleans R&B band, with which he developed a reputation as a talented and gentlemanly musician. However, the Big Easy called to Cleary again. He moved back and got bookings in clubs as a featured and side performer, playing with bluesmen like Smokey Johnson, James Singleton, and George Porter. One of these gigs included Walter “Wolfman” Washington in the audience; taken with Cleary’s playing, Washington offered Cleary a spot in his own band. Cleary played with Washington for two years, continuing his introduction to more sophisticated forms of R&B and blues, as well as incorporating Latin influences into his style.

At this point, Cleary began writing his own material and formed his own band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, with bassist Cornell Williams and guitarist Derwin “Big D” Perkins from the gospel group the Friendly Travelers, and drummer Jeffrey “Jellybean” Alexander. Just as the Absolute Monster Gentlemen achieved a reputation as one of New Orleans’ finest combos, Cleary encountered visa problems and had to return to the U.K. immediately.

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