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The Funky Biscuit Presents Jon Cleary

Funky Biscuit Enterprises, Inc

Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 9:00 PM (EDT)

Boca Raton, FL

The Funky Biscuit Presents Jon Cleary

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Ended $35.00 $2.92
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Event Details

 

JON CLEARY

Occapella! FHQ Records

"Having fun with the songs of Allen Toussaint," Jon

Cleary has chosen a mix of popular and less familiar

pieces penned by legendary songwriter Allen Toussaint

to re-imagine, like the lesser-known title track as well as

better known tunes like "Southern Nights," "Everything I

Do Gonh Be Funky," and "Fortune Teller," most recently

made popular by Robert Plant/Alison Krauss.

 

Highlights


2012 OffBeat Magazine Best of the Beat Award

Nominee for Best Piano/Keyboardist - an impressive

fourth year in a row. Band members James Singleton

and Matt Perrine were also nominated for Best Bass

Player and Best Tuba / Sousaphonist respectively.


2012 Blues Music Award Nominee - Pinetop

Perkins Piano Player of the Year (3rd nomination in this

category)

 

2011 OffBeat Best of the Beat Award Nominee for

Best Piano/Keyboardist

 

2011 - named among the Best Keyboardists in Blues

Matters (UK) International Writer's Poll

Featured in Season 2, Episode 20 of HBO's Treme,

performing "Frenchman Street Blues" and Season 1,

Episode 9, performing "When You Get Back"

 

Touring member of Bonnie Raitt's band since 1999

and appeared on the albums Silver Lining and Souls

Alike. On these recordings, Raitt covered the Cleary

originals, "Fool's Game," "Monkey Business,"

"Unnecessarily Mercenary," and "Love on One

Condition."

 

Toured with John Scofield and featured on vocals

and keyboards on the recently released, Piety Street by

John Scofield & The Piety Street Band.

 

Recorded with artists such as Taj Mahal, Keb Mo,

Eric Clapton, D'Angelo, India Arie and Ryan Adams,

among many others

 

"Jon Cleary is the ninth wonder

in the world." - Bonnie Raitt

 

In the hallowed ranks of New Orleans "piano

professors," Jon Cleary is on the tenure track. Born in

England and bred in New Orleans, Jon Cleary is a triple

threat combining soulful vocals, masterful piano skills,

and a knack for composing infectious grooves with

melodic hooks and sharp lyrics. He balances performing

on solo piano, with noted funk band The Absolute

Monster Gentlemen, and his trio The Philthy Phew.

 

"Cleary plays piano as if he's revving up an engine and sings

as if a line drawing of his behatted self were next to "soul" in

Webster's."

- The Washington Post

 

"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

 

Occapella! APRIL 17, 2012

 

The seeds for Jon Cleary's sixth solo CD were sown when the

acclaimed songwriter, pianist and singer was asked the hypothetical

question, "Would you ever do a record of somebody else's tunes?"

The English-born Cleary, who has made New Orleans his home for

more than three decades, provides his emphatic answer with the

utterly captivating Occapella.

 

An exploration deep into the bountiful songbook of Cleary's musical

touchstone, Allen Toussaint, the new album is as inspired as it is surefooted.

On this labor of love, Cleary inventively reimagines the classics

"Southern Nights" and "What Do You Want the Girl To Do," while he

presents less familiar pieces like "Poor Boy Got To Move," "I'm Gone"

and "When the Party's Over" as newly unearthed treasures.

 

"I wouldn't say it's a tribute," Cleary says of Occapella. "The term

'tribute' sounds rather corny, really. On the back of the album, I just

put, 'Having fun with the songs of Allen Toussaint,' which sums up the

vibe a bit better. Toussaint's music was the soundtrack of my

adolescence, I've played a lot of his songs with the guys who had the

original hits with them, and we've crossed paths on numerous

occasions. So this record was a logical thing for me to do.

 

"I'd actually been messing around with a song of his called 'Occapella,'

which he wrote for Lee Dorsey in the '70s," Cleary says of the project's

genesis. "It's always been one of my favorites, so I started to do an a

cappella version of 'Occapella,' and then one thing led to another. The

idea of flexing my various musical muscles using Allen Toussaint's

songs as the raw material seemed really appealing. The challenge

was to take each song and do a flip on it in some respect."

 

Cleary plays every instrument on the album - keyboards, guitar (his

first instrument), bass and drums - with one notable exception. On the

ecstatically soulful opening track "Let's Get Low Down," Bonnie Raitt

and Dr. John, both longtime musical associates, join him on vocals.

Dr. John also plays guitar on the track, while bassist James Singleton

and drummer Terence Higgins, both part of the flexible lineup of the

Philthy Phew, lay down the deep gut groove.

 

Additionally, Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander, Derwin "Big D" Perkins

and Cornell Williams of Cleary's Absolute Monster Gentlemen

contribute backing vocals on "Popcorn Pop Pop," "Wrong Number"

and the title song, while Walter "Wolfman" Washington sings

background vocals on "Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky." Cleary selfproduced

Occapella in the well-appointed studio he's installed in his

home in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. His neighbor,

fellow expat John Porter - a veteran producer whose CV ranges from

The Smiths and Ryan Adams to B.B. King, Buddy Guy and R.L.

Burnside - received a co-producer credit for his expert assistance.

 

"My inclination at first was to pick the most obscure tunes I could find,

because I've always been a bit of a funk detective," Cleary explains.

"Then one of my managers said, 'It's a great idea, but if you're gonna

do this, make sure there are some songs that people recognize.' So I

picked a couple of his better-known tunes, but I tried to take them in a

different direction - to take an aspect of the melody or the chord

progression, or perhaps his original arrangement, and present it in a

different box, as it were."

 

Cleary became aware of Toussaint as a youngster in the village of

Cranbrook in Kent, England, when he noticed that three of his favorite

songs - Frankie Miller's rendition of "Brickyard Blues," Robert Palmer's

"Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley" and LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade" -

were all credited to the New Orleans legend. When his uncle gave him

a copy of Toussaint's classic 1972 LP, Life, Love and Faith, Cleary

was hooked for life. Soon after finishing school, he made a pilgrimage

to the Crescent City and knew he'd found his spiritual home. He "got

thrown in the deep end, landing a job digging up banana trees and

pretty much moving into the Maple Leaf Bar," where he sat transfixed

night after night listening to the likes of James Booker and Roosevelt

Sykes tickle the ivories on the house piano. Before long, he was

mixing it up with Dr. John, Snooks Eaglin, Earl King and other staples

of the scene on club stages and in local studios.

 

As his reputation spread, Cleary became a hired gun for NOLA-based

musicians and visiting artists alike, from Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' to

India Arie and Ryan Adams. He recorded and toured with renowned

guitarist/bandleader John Scofield, and spent 10 years playing with

Raitt, who recorded several of his songs, before regretfully taking his

leave from that altogether gratifying situation in order to concentrate

on his own music.

 

Though the new album is a departure from his previous recordings,

which have focused all but exclusively on his own material, it has

enabled him to come full circle in terms of his lifelong musical passion,

exemplified by his sublime take on "Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky."

"That song will forever be associated with Lee Dorsey, who was

Toussaint's protégé," Cleary points out. "Lots of other people have

covered it as well, but I didn't care - I just wanted to play it because it's

such a great song. The first time I heard it, I said to myself, 'Yeah -

everything I do is gonh be funky too.'"

 

To say that Jon Cleary has made good on that vow would amount to

a gross understatement.


Quotes

New Orleans has always been piano man's heaven. But the most

creative keyboardist in town, for my money, is Jon Cleary.

- Mojo Magazine

 

Having lived in New Orleans for two decades, Cleary is steeped

in that city's second-line tradition, but he is equally influenced

by the moody groves of '70s Miami soul.

- Amazon

 

Cleary's playing style -- the settings on his digital keyboard

switched from ivory-hued piano to gritty clavinet and back --

mixes Professor Longhair, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder

into one rolling gumbo. Like any Crescent City pianist, he's

always ready to rumba.

- The Star Ledger, New Jersey

 

Jon Cleary's got a specialty: funk-drenched New Orleans piano.

- Boston Herald

 

Cleary doesn't skimp on soulfulness, either. The ghost of Lee

Dorsey hovers over the stripped-down title tune.

- The Times / London

 

Combining doo-wop, gospel, the Cuban Son tradition, blues

and - above all - a heavy dollop of P-Funk bass-quake, Cleary

and his band…considerably spice up the already-rich N'awlins

piano gumbo.

- Paste Magazine

 

Quite possibly the tightest funkiest band in a city swarming

with such superlatives.

- OffBeat Magazine

Have questions about The Funky Biscuit Presents Jon Cleary? Contact Funky Biscuit Enterprises, Inc

When & Where


The Funky Biscuit
303 SE Mizner Blvd
Royal Palm Place
Boca Raton, FL 33432

Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 9:00 PM (EDT)


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