Master of funk, blues and jazz, Jon Cleary, swept into Adelaide for one gig on Friday night at The Gov.
Cleary, although originally from the UK, has made his home in New Orleans, and become very much a part of the US roots music scene. He has performed with such stalwarts such as Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Allen Toussaint and Susan Tedeschi, and finally won a Grammy in last year for his album Go Go Juice.
Accompanied by his outfit The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Cleary gave the devoted and expectant crowd a night to remember.
Opening with his big, boogie-funk sound, the place was rocking within the first three bars.
The boys gave two, packed sets, performing both songs from Go Go Juice and older numbers, Highlights included Gangster of Love and C’mon the Second Line, which got the full boogie-woogie treatment. Most of the evening Cleary was on piano, but he did pick up a guitar for the last couple of numbers.
As the respected artist he is, he attracts fantastic musicians to work with him, and the current line-up of Monster Gentlemen did not disappoint.
Cleary’s sound is firmly rooted in a 70s funk style, bringing back memories of Weather Report, Earth, Wind and Fire and other such outfits, yet he manages to get that big sound with just a quartet. He is an incredibly warm, personable and humble performer, who drips respect for the music. His band are as tight as a bar-maid’s corset and as hot as a good gumbo.
At the end of the night, his adoring audience gave him one of the loudest and warmest ovations I’ve ever head at The Gov…and that’s saying something!
Cleary is quoted as saying that “Funk is the ethnic music of New Orleans”, and there is no doubt that he is keeping the ethnic music of his adopted town very much alive, and growing.
This was a musical master-class.