GRAMMY® Award-Winner Jon Cleary was Bonnie Raitt’s piano player for over a decade and his New Orleans-style playing continues to be a beloved fixture of the Crescent City. Jon Cleary & The Monster Gentlemen are a mainstay at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival having won a GRAMMY® Award in 2016 for their album, ‘Go Go Juice’. Tickets for JON CLEARY & THE ABSOLUTE MONSTER GENTLEMEN at Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club on Saturday June 24 at 7 & 9:30 P.M., as well as the current list of 2023 shows, can be found on Ticketmaster.com and Jimmy’s Online Event Calendar at: https://www.jimmysoncongress.com/events.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H., May 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club Features GRAMMY® Award-Winning Funk, R&B, and Soul Artist JON CLEARY & THE ABSOLUTE MONSTER GENTLEMEN on Saturday June 24 at 7 & 9:30 P.M. “It’s all about groove married to instantly memorable melodies and ensemble playing on par with anything from the Meters, Dr. John or the Neville Brothers, high praise indeed,” says AMERICAN SONGWRITER.
”Jon Cleary is one of the most hellaciously talented purveyors of modern New Orleans inspired funk.”
— BONNIE RAITT
“Cleary can be an absolute monster on his own, but Cleary’s full combo R&B is as broad, deep and roiling as the Mississippi river, the combined swinging product of local keyboard tradition, Cleary’s vocal-songwriting flair for moody Seventies soul and the spunky-meters roll of his Gentlemen.”
— ROLLING STONE
“Jon Cleary’s albums are chock full of indisputable funk steeped in New Orleans tradition, fine musicianship and stylized songwriting but the real mojo is in seeing him and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen live…”
— ALL ABOUT JAZZ
“Cleary embodies the heart and soul of the Crescent City, keeping the sound and the fury of its legendary piano pounders alive and kicking.”
— NO DEPRESSION
GRAMMY® Award-Winning Funk, R&B, and Soul Artist JON CLEARY‘s love and affinity for New Orleans music goes back to the rural British village of Cranbrook, Kent, where he was raised in a musical family. Cleary’s maternal grandparents performed in London in the 1940s, under the respective stage names Sweet Dolly Daydream and Frank Neville, The Little Fellow With The Educated Feet. She was a singer, and he was a crooner and tap dancer.
As a teen Cleary grew increasingly interested in funk-infused music and discovered that three such songs that he particularly admired – LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” Robert Palmer’s version of “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley,” and Frankie Miller’s rendition of “Brickyard Blues” – were attributed to Allen Toussaint as either the songwriter, the producer, or both. Cleary’s knowledge of Toussaint’s work expanded significantly when his uncle returned home to the U.K., after a two-year sojourn in New Orleans, with a copy of a Toussaint LP and two suitcases full of New Orleans R&B 45s.
In 1981, Cleary flew to New Orleans for an initial pilgrimage and took a cab straight from the airport to the Maple Leaf Bar, a storied venue which then featured such great blues-rooted eclectic pianists as Roosevelt Sykes and James Booker. Cleary first worked at the Maple Leaf as a painter, but soon graduated to playing piano there.
As word of Cleary’s burgeoning talent began to spread around town, he was hired by such New Orleans R&B legends as and James Booker, Snooks Eaglin, Earl “Trick Bag” King, Johnny Adams, and Jessie “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” Hill, while also gaining the respect of the great Crescent City pianists Dr. John and the late Allen Toussaint. Years later, in 2012, Cleary recorded a critically acclaimed album of all-Toussaint songs entitled Occapella.
Today, Cleary’s work pays obvious homage to the classic Crescent City keyboard repertoire created by such icons as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Dr. John, and James Booker – while also using it as a launching pad for a style that incorporates such other diverse influences as ’70s soul and R&B, gospel music, funk, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and much more.
Deciding to stay in New Orleans, Cleary recorded his first album of nine, to date, in 1989. His ever-elevating profile led to global touring work in the bands of Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, John Scofield, and Dr. John as well as performances with BB King, Eric Clapton, and many others. Cleary has led his own group, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, for over two decades now, but he still collaborates frequently with these old friends. At the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, for instance, Cleary performed alongside Bonnie Raitt in a heartfelt tribute to Fats Domino.
JON CLEARY Tickets & Current Schedule of Shows
Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club’s 2023 Schedule of Shows now includes 9 NEA Jazz Masters, 42 GRAMMY® Award-Winning Artists, 36 Blues Music Award-Winners, and a comprehensive list of talented musicians with 400+ GRAMMY® Award Nominations amongst them. Tickets for JON CLEARY & THE ABOSULUTE MONSTER GENTLEMEN at Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club on Saturday June 24 at 7 & 9:30 P.M., as well as the current list of 2023 shows, can be found on Ticketmaster and Jimmy’s Online Event Calendar at: https://www.jimmysoncongress.com/events.
ABOUT JIMMY’S JAZZ & BLUES CLUB
The mission of Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club is to provide guests a one-of-a-kind, world-class experience featuring serious jazz and blues music served with exceptional cuisine. Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club features a spectacular and visually breathtaking environment engineered to deliver the highest quality acoustics while utilizing state-of-the-art production, sound and lighting technologies. Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club is located within a beautifully restored 1905 building at 135 Congress Street in the heart of historic downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. For more information visit www.jimmysoncongress.com or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JimmysJazzBlues and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/jimmysjazzblues/.
PRIVATE EVENTS AT JIMMY’S
An architecturally breathtaking center of arts and culture in the heart of historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club offers a rare and spectacular venue to host important corporate functions, weddings, intimate or large-scale social gatherings, private parties, and memorable celebrations. The team at Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club put heart and soul into creating a stunning full-service event space with new state-of-the-art production, sound & lighting technologies delivered with outstanding next-level culinary experiences. Our high-touch approach with professional and experienced event staff ensures that everything is tailored to exceed your expectations. To start a conversation about hosting your event at Jimmy’s Jazz and Blues Club, please call us at 888-603-5299, or fill out Jimmy’s Private Event Request Form.